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July 30, 2008 > Hormones Play a Role in Care and Treatment of Diabetes

Hormones Play a Role in Care and Treatment of Diabetes

Washington Hospital Seminar Focuses on Chronic Disease

Hormones are powerful chemicals our body produces to keep it working right. They stimulate, regulate and control the function of organs and tissues. Hormones are involved in nearly every biological process.
Diabetes is a hormonal disease. It is caused by the pancreas' inability to produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that converts sugar, starches and other foods into the energy our body needs for daily living. Understanding how diabetes interacts with other hormones can help people with the chronic disease to control it better.
"Hormones definitely play a role in the care and treatment of diabetes," said Dr. Prasad Katta, an endocrinologist from Washington Township Medical Group (WTMG) who will present an upcoming seminar on diabetes.
Part of Washington Hospital's free Diabetes Matters education series, "Diabetes and Your Hormones" will be held on Thursday, August 7, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D., Auditorium at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. To register for the seminar, call (800) 963-7070.
Diabetes is a growing public health issue with more than 23 million people in the United States having been diagnosed with the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce insulin and accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to survive.
The more common form is type 2 diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases. It usually begins as insulin resistance, which occurs when the cells do not properly use the hormone. As the need for insulin rises, the body often loses its ability to produce it.
Katta will provide an overview of diabetes as a hormonal disease and talk about some of the latest advances, including the use of hormones produced by the gastrointestinal tract or gut. These hormones, which affect metabolism, are leading to new diabetes medications.

Diabetes and Testosterone
About 30 to 40 percent of men with diabetes also suffer from erectile dysfunction. Katta will address the male hormone testosterone and its relationship with diabetes.
While studies show men with type 2 diabetes have lower levels of testosterone, he said it is not clear what causes higher rates of erectile dysfunction among men with diabetes. There is some speculation it is linked to obesity, blood pressure and the use of medication to control blood pressure. Men who are obese have higher rates of diabetes and lower levels of testosterone in the blood.
Katta will also discuss the issue of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Controlling blood sugar is key to preventing serious complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, and stroke. But if blood sugar levels are too low, that can be a problem. Over time, low blood sugar can hurt the body's ability to produce or properly use other hormones.
"People with diabetes walk a fine line," he said. "They can't let their blood sugar get too high, but they can't let it get too low either. That is why it's critical for people with type 1 diabetes to check their blood sugar three or four times a day."
Finally, the doctor will talk about some of the other hormonal disorders people with diabetes are at risk for, including thyroid disease, Addison's disease, and other autoimmune diseases.

To learn more about diabetes and your hormones, register for the seminar at (800) 963-7070. To find out about other diabetes education classes, call (510) 745-6556 or visit, click on "Services and Programs" and choose "Diabetes Services" from the drop-down menu.

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