Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Diabetes Questions Answered by an Expert

Diabetes Questions Answered

The nation is fighting a battle with diabetes. Nearly 8 percent of people in the United States are afflicted with the chronic illness, according to the American Diabetes Association. And that number is even higher in the Rio Grande Valley, with 20 to 25 percent of people affected by diabetes.

The higher percentage is due, in part, to the mostly Hispanic population. Hispanics, African-Americans and Native Americans are more prone to the disease than other ethnicities.

Dr. Kevin Weiland, who is board-certified in internal medicine, has several patients who are living with diabetes, and he strives to help them learn how to cope with the illness through healthy lifestyle habits. He authored the book The Dakota Diet, which led to the documentary Good Meat, a story that follows an obese Native American man with diabetes who goes on The Dakota Diet. After 100 days on the diet, which included buffalo meat, the man was able to drop weight and significantly improve his blood-sugar levels.

Based in Rapid City, S.D., Weiland has been practicing medicine for nearly 20 years. Here he answers a few Monitor readers’ questions, offers some prevention tips and debunks a few myths about the disease.

“What can I do to bring my sugar level down?” – Mary Saldana, 57, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: The best thing you can do is reduce your calories and exercise.

“During pregnancy, would my medication affect my baby?” – Mayra Espinosa, 30, Mission

Dr. Weiland: What’s going to affect your baby is not taking medication. A lot of time we do have those who are pregnant on insulin. It’s a natural hormone, so it’s the safest hormone we could give to a mother and her baby. That’s the Cadillac of drugs and what I’d give my wife and baby, if it were needed.

“Why do I feel numbness at times?” – Joe Vitela, 63, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: If your blood sugars are elevated, it causes swelling of a nerve. Subsequently, you can feel tingling, pain or numbness. Better blood sugar control can reverse those effects.

“If I change to a different medication, how will that affect my side effects?” – Jesse Cantu, 63, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: The medications are designed to allow insulin to work better. It’s important to know what drug and what class of drug you’re taking. Switching for cost is a great thing and we should do that, but if your current medication is working for you, I’d stay with it.

How can I prevent developing Type 2 diabetes?

Dr. Weiland: It’s so easy! About 60 percent of our country has this syndrome called metabolic syndrome. That alone is a set up for Type 2 diabetes later on down the road. The best thing for you to do is to eat less, eat better and get that activity level up. At least 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise, at least four times per week.

I’m already obese; am I doomed to developing Type 2 diabetes?

Dr. Weiland: You’re never doomed. We have so many great things we can do to empower ourselves like diet and exercise.

Even if I lead a healthy lifestyle now, will I inevitably be dependant on insulin later in life?

Dr. Weiland: It depends. Type 2 diabetics can have such a resistance to insulin. You still may be reliant on insulin because the pancreas may be shot.

As a diabetic, should I never eat anything with sugar?

Dr. Weiland: I would put sugar on a pedestal and enjoy it infrequently and enjoy life. It’s something you have to control. Sweets are one of the pleasures in life. Why live if we can’t have pleasure?

What foods will cause spikes in my blood glucose levels?

Dr. Weiland: Any of the simple carbohydrates. You want to consume complex carbohydrates. If your body doesn’t burn the carbohydrate, the insulin will store it for you in the form of fat.

No comments:

Post a Comment