Saturday, January 10, 2009

People With Type 2 Diabetes Need To Focus On Weight Management Year-Round

(NAPSI)-Many Americans spend the early part of each year trying to lose holiday weight or gear up for swimsuit season. But, for the one in four adult Americans with type 2 diabetes, the need to lose weight is not just wishful thinking, it is a medical necessity and could help address the growing diabetes epidemic.

Obesity and diabetes are closely related metabolic diseases that are affecting the world at epidemic levels. A recent report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that nearly 24 million Americans are currently living with type 2 diabetes. Moreover, in the U.S. alone, there are close to 134 million adults who are overweight, and more than 63 million of whom are obese.

A dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity has led to an associated rise in the prevalence of many obesity-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, which has seen an increase of more than 3 million people in the past two years. Additionally, there are many more Americans who have prediabetes and have a markedly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the coming years.

Diabetes and Weight-

A Vicious Cycle

There is a very strong link between type 2 diabetes and body weight; 90 percent of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

"Weight management plays a critical role in determining whether or not a person with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes will be able to delay, or even prevent, the progression of their condition," says Dr. Lawrence Blonde, director of the Ochsner Diabetes Clinical Research Unit in the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, La.

Excess weight often contributes to the development of diabetes, but for people with or at risk for type 2 diabetes, weight loss is often difficult to achieve. Traditional therapies for controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes often do not address the importance of weight loss in overweight or obese patients. In fact, many of the medications commonly used to control blood glucose, such as sulfonylureas or thiazolidindiones (TZDs), can actually be associated with weight gain.

Breaking The Cycle

Modifying lifestyle to include a healthy diet and regular physical activity and working with a doctor to identify the right medication or combination of medications is critical to the successful management of type 2 diabetes. This will also help achieve positive overall health outcomes by contributing to improvements in control of blood glucose, cholesterol and other blood lipids and blood pressure. Weight management can also help improve the quality of life of people with type 2 diabetes and provide motivation to continue with their doctor's treatment recommendations.

Moderate and sustainable weight loss in overweight or obese people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be achieved by taking the following steps:

• Meet with an appropriately trained health care professional- usually a registered dietitian-to learn the basics about healthy eating;

• Talk to your doctor about what medications are best for you and mention your concern about weight;

• Increase your physical activity; If approved by your doctor, even a modest increase can be very beneficial;

• Involve your family, it takes a group effort to support your lifestyle changes;

• Find more information about how to improve your lifestyle using resources such as the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) and the National Diabetes Education Program (www.ndep.nih.gov).

"Weight management plays a critical role in determining whether or not a person with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes will be able to delay, or even prevent, the progression of their condition."

Dr. Lawrence Blonde, director of the Ochsner Diabetes Clinical Research Unit, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, La.

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