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MEDICAL MATTERS: A look at the endemic problem in a pandemic - Odessa American: Health

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MEDICAL MATTERS: A look at the endemic problem in a pandemic

Dr. Varuna Nargunan is with ProCare Endocrinology in Odessa. She is Board Certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and also Board Certified in Internal Medicine. procareodessa.com/varuna-nargunan-m-d/

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Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2020 5:00 am

Diabetes mellitus is one of the major chronic medical problems in the United States. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the healthcare cost of diabetes was $327 million dollars. In addition, the CDC says more than 34 million Americans have diabetes and more than 88 million adults in the U.S. —1 in 3—have prediabetes, and 90-percent of them don’t know they have it. It is diagnosed with routine blood work.

The most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Diabetes mellitus type 2 constitutes 95-percent of diabetes in adults. Others include maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY), gestational diabetes, etc.

Type 1 diabetes is due to an autoimmune disorder, which causes destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, and in turn are insulin dependent. Type 2 diabetes is due to the resistance developed by the body, in which the target cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin produced.

Fasting sugar levels more than 126 and random sugar levels more than 200 is diabetes. HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c) is a measure of average sugars in 3 months. If that is more than 6.5-percent, that is also a diagnostic of diabetes. Usually the symptoms are unusual weight loss, increased thirst/appetite, frequent urination, blurry vision and fatigue. Some children present with bedwetting as a symptom.

High carb diets and sedentary lifestyles are the most common causes of diabetes. Family history also has a significant contribution in those diagnosed with diabetes. Management first involves dietary modifications, which includes a low carb diet and a balanced meal plan. Those newly diagnosed should also start to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

There are various medications available to control diabetes. The management is to target the blood sugar fasting less than 130, and less than 200 two hours after eating. If management with oral medication is not successful, then insulin injections are added for the management of diabetes. Talk to your doctor about the right medications that will be effective for you.

Not taking proper care of diabetes can lead to many long-term effects such as vision damage, kidney damage resulting in dialysis, amputation of the limbs, heart attack, stroke and even death.

Your health is your asset and you should always seek help before it is too late if you think you may have diabetes.

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