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December 31, 2008 > New Medications Help to Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes

New Medications Help to Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Washington Hospital Seminar Focuses on Ways to Control Blood Sugar

Diabetes is a serious disease that can rob you of your eyesight, kidney function and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes have to keep their blood sugar levels under control to reduce the damage it can cause. The good news is diabetes is easier to manage than it was even 10 years ago.

"New discoveries have led to medications that can better control blood glucose," says Dr. Aruna Chakravorty, an endocrinologist at Washington Hospital who will present an upcoming seminar on new treatments for type 2 diabetes. "But the first line of defense for type 2 diabetes is still diet and exercise."

Part of Washington Hospital's free Diabetes Matters education series, "What's New to Treat Type 2 Diabetes" will be held on Thursday, January 8, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Conrad E. Anderson, MD Auditorium at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. To register for the seminar, call (800) 963-7070.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not properly use insulin, a hormone it needs to convert food into energy. When this process is not working correctly, blood sugar - also called glucose - levels rise.

Chakravorty will provide an overview of type 2 diabetes and general issues related to managing the disease, including the need to control blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and monitor your feet regularly for sores and other problems. If these go unchecked, you may be at risk for serious complications from diabetes.

Unfortunately, many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms and don't know they have the disease. You are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
* are older than 45
* are overweight
* are inactive
* have a close family member who has diabetes
* had diabetes during a pregnancy
* had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
* have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol


Research Leads to New Treatments

Diabetes research has led to the recent discovery of incretin hormones, which have been shown to play an important role in regulating blood glucose. They are produced by cells in the intestinal tract in response to the absorption of food.

Chakravorty will explain how these hormones lower blood sugar. She will also talk about new medicines that have been developed that keep blood glucose under control by helping these hormones work better.

Some type 2 diabetics must take insulin to keep their disease under control. Insulin is injected into the blood and is designed to mimic the natural regulation of blood glucose by delivering the right amount of insulin at the right time. Chakravorty will talk about some of the recent advancements in insulin, including the development of insulin analogs.

An insulin analog is a modified form of insulin that has been genetically altered to work more effectively. These modifications have created two types of insulin analogs: fast acting, which leave the system more quickly, making it possible to eat immediately after injection, and long-acting, which provide a more consistent dosage over a longer period.

Chakravorty will also stress the importance of diet and exercise in controlling the disease. "New medications can help keep blood glucose levels under control, but the bottom line is anyone with type 2 diabetes must eat right, keep their weight down, and exercise," she said.

Diabetes Matters Lecture: What's New to Treat Type 2 Diabetes
When/Time: Thursday, January 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Location: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue

Call: To learn more about new treatments for type 2 diabetes, register for the seminar at (800) 963-7070.

To find out more information about Washington Hospital's Outpatient Diabetes Program, call (510) 745-6556 or visit www.whhs.com/services/diabetes/

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