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March 24, 2010 > Education: First Line of Defense in the War Against Diabetes

Education: First Line of Defense in the War Against Diabetes

Free Seminar Covers Intricacies of Type 1 and Type 2 Management

As the diabetes epidemic continues to grow, it's more important than ever to get the most up-to-date information, whether you have a family history of diabetes, have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or have been managing diabetes for years.

On Thursday, April 1, Dr. Prasad Katta, a Washington Hospital endocrinologist and diabetes expert, will present a free Diabetes Matters seminar on Management of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

"This talk is basically to going to cover an overall view of diabetes, including why it happens and what has changed in the last 40, 50, 60 years in terms of lifestyle, diet and exercise in relation to diabetes' increase," Dr. Katta says. "Prevalence of diabetes is actually increasing more than we expected in the last 10 to 15 years. According to estimates that were made in the year 2000, nationally we were supposed to be spending around $170 billion on diabetes care. Instead, as of 2009, we are spending $190 billion to treat this condition."

Even more striking, Dr. Katta says, is that Type 2 diabetes, in which poor diet and insufficient exercise cause the body to slowly become resistant to the hormone insulin, is being increasingly diagnosed in younger and younger children.

"Diabetes diagnoses in younger age groups as recently as 20 to 30 years ago used to be exclusively Type 1 diabetes, and these patients don't have any other choice but to go on insulin," he points out. "At the present time, you see kids as young as 6 and 7 who have to take medication for Type 2 diabetes, which is a significant change from the type of diabetes we were seeing in the past.

"It's estimated that one-third of children born after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, but rates are even higher within certain populations such as the Hispanic and black communities."


The solution?

Dr. Katta believes the solution to the diabetes epidemic lies with patient education.

"We know that patients, if they have diabetes education at the time of their diagnosis, will do better in the long run," he says.

During his talk, on April 1, Dr. Katta will go over the "ABCs" of diabetes management for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, which have been expanded to include, amongst other factors:
A: A1C, the hemoglobin A1c (A1C) blood test
B: Blood Pressure Control
C: Cholesterol/Aspirin
D: Diabetes Education
E: Eye Examinations
F: Foot Examinations
G: Glucose Monitoring
H: Health Maintenance

Medications, according to Dr. Katta, play an enormous role in diabetes management for those with Type 2 diabetes.

"With Type 2 diabetes patients, who represent 90 percent to 95 percent of diabetes cases, they have a combination of not producing enough insulin and not using the insulin they produce, and they more than likely need multiple medications," he says. "When we are treating diabetes, the other thing patients need to know is they most likely will increase in weight over time. The issue is how to mitigate this increased weight. The basic steps of Type 2 diabetes management are eating well, exercise and use of medication that does not cause increase in weight. All these will help the patient, but they have to check their sugars."

Dr. Katta says most people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes will check their sugars once a day in the morning, but he says this is not enough to tell an accurate story about blood sugar.

"Patients with diabetes have to check sugars at different times," he explains. "If they are on insulin, they need to check three to four times a day because two hours after eating, sugar levels are very important. Patients on insulin need to check sugars more often because insulin can cause low blood sugar. They also need to check them more often if there's more than one type of insulin being used, one to control sugar between meals and another to control it during meals. For this reason, they may need to check three to four or more times a day."

For those managing Type 1 diabetes, checking blood sugar is especially vital, Dr. Katta emphasizes.

"Those with Type 1 may have to check as many as five, six or seven times a day because they don't have any insulin," he says. "They don't have any defense mechanisms to prevent a spike in blood sugar, because the pancreas isn't producing insulin at all."

Dr. Katta will break down the different categories of medications that are available to help control diabetes, including those that won't contribute to weight gain and may even help promote healthy weight loss.

"Medications are very important, especially if a patient's diabetes is not well controlled," he says.

However, he does point out that for patients with pre-diabetes, a healthy diet, exercise and supervision by a primary care physician may be the best prescription for preventing full-blown diabetes.

"As far as diabetes medications go, Metformin, which has been used on a lot of patients for a long time, represents the gold standard for diabetes management for many patients," he says. "Recently there are other medications, including sulfonylureas, which tell the pancreas to produce more insulin, but these can make the patients suffer from low blood sugar if they don't eat properly.

"I'll be discussing these medications, amongst others, as well as two medications that have come out in last four or five years, oral Januvia(r) and Ongliza(tm), which is weight neutral."

To get a free comprehensive overview of Management of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, join Dr. Katta on Thursday, April 1, at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

For more information about the Diabetes Matters Program at Washington Hospital, call (510) 745-6556 or go online at www.whhs.com/diabetes.

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