Spotlight on the Dangers of Diabetes

TOMBALL, Texas – March 6, 2017 — Diabetes affects nearly 30 million people in the United States – a stunning 10 percent of the overall population. And recent research reveals that diabetes is now the third leading cause of death, not the seventh, as was previously thought. Perhaps the most concerning statistic is that one in four persons living with diabetes is unaware that they have the disease.

The American Diabetes Association sponsors Diabetes Alert Day to serve as an annual wake-up call. The organization wants to remind Americans about the seriousness and prevalence of diabetes, particularly when the disease is left undiagnosed or untreated. This year, Diabetes Alert Day isTuesday, March 28.

Dr. Paul Piper and Dr. Brandi Addison are specialists in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism who practice out of Affinity Medical Associates.  They encourage diabetes screenings as early detection enables individuals to make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid developing the disease.

“The incidence of type 2 diabetes in this country has tripled in the last twenty years,” said Dr. Piper.   “Changes in dietary habits and sedentary lifestyles have caused the disease to reach epidemic proportions. On the positive side, this condition can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. There are more options available today than ever before.”

Researchers estimate that, if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to preventing irreversible damage to your health and longevity, so awareness and access to care are the key areas of focus.

Here are the top five ways to keep blood sugar at healthy levels, and to keep type 2 diabetes from impacting you and your loved ones:

  1. Get more physical activity.  You don’t have to run marathons for physical activity to add years to your life. Just 30 minutes of intentional activity, at least five times per week, can make a huge difference for insulin resistance. A mix of aerobic, heart-pumping activity with some resistance training is the best plan. Getting up and walking for 5 minutes at a time throughout the day is beneficial as well
  2. Get plenty of fiber.  Fiber has many benefits, including improving blood sugar management. Sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
  3. Choose whole grains.  All carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, but whole grains have less impact on blood glucose. Moderate your overall carbohydrate intake, and make sure at least half of your grain intake is whole grains. Whole grains are prepared as close to the source from the Earth as possible. Look for labels that say “whole grain.,”
  4. Lose a little weight.  Losing even 5 or 10 pounds appears to have an impact on reducing blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Don’t focus on huge goals – celebrate the small wins!
  5. Skip the fad diets.  Yo-yo dieting and fad diets are hard on the heart, the mind, and your organs. Just make good, whole food choices 80% of the time, and your body will work the way it was designed.

 

If you have a family history of diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes yourself. Also, the condition is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders. Above-average body weight increases diabetes risk for people of all backgrounds.

Individuals who are concerned about their diabetes risk, or who have been diagnosed with the disease, should see their primary care physician, Dr. Addison recommends. By working closely with their physician, the condition can be managed or even prevented.

“Only your doctor can tell for sure if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes,” said Dr. Addison.  “As part of your annual health physical, be sure to talk to your doctor about the results of your fasting blood sugar and A1C tests. If your numbers are heading in the wrong direction, you can act quickly to get back on the right track.”

Affinity Medical Associates is a network of providers who serve the Northwest Houston area at nine convenient locations.  They offer a wide range of care, including family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, endocrinology, obstetrics and gynecology. 

Affinity Medical Associates has a multidisciplinary Diabetes team, which includes Drs. Piper and Addison, Nurse Practitioner M. Michelle Piper, and Certified Diabetes Educator Patricia Henry-Lewandowski. They provide diabetes care and education in the community to include Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Prevention, Weight Management, General Nutritional Care, and Diabetes Education and Self-Management Training.  The Diabetes Education Center is certified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and classes are covered by most insurances. Led by Ms. Henry-Lewandowski, the series of classes teach individuals with diabetes to better control blood glucose levels with or without medication.

Dr. Piper, Dr. Addison, Ms. Piper,  and Ms. Henry-Lewandowski are currently accepting new patients.  To schedule an appointment, call 281-516-1000 or visit AffinityMedTX.com.

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