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Diabetes Prevention: What You Need to Know

Written by University of the Sciences in Philadelphia on 15 February 2010.

diabetes and minoritiesThe American Diabetes Association reports that there are a staggering 57 million people in the United States living with pre-diabetes, a condition that often has no symptoms, but if left untreated has the potential to cause type 2 diabetes and other severe consequences.

“Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed later in life, but due to the increasing weight of children, we’re seeing it more in younger patients,” said Hank Schwartz, PharmD, a Certified Diabetes Educator and director of community pharmacy practice experiences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. “Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Studies show that with lifestyle changes, a person can delay or prevent the onset of this type.”

Diabetes may be one of the nation’s leading causes of death, but knowing the facts can help you understand and avert the onset of the most common form of diabetes, type 2. Education is power to fight the deadly consequences of diabetes, and Dr. Schwartz identifies what you need to know:

Assessing Your Risk: Individuals who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, have high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, or are in a high-risk ethnic group (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander), should ask their doctor if getting tested for diabetes is appropriate.

Symptoms to Look For: Contact your doctor if you have any of the following type 2 diabetes symptoms: increased thirst, dry mouth, increased appetite, irregular fatigue or tiredness, frequent urination, and blurred vision.

Prevention: Individuals, even those with pre-diabetes, can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by adopting healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a nutritious low-fat diet, maintaining an ideal body weight or body mass index (BMI), and exercising at least 30 minutes, five times a week. A healthy BMI is 19-25, 26-29 is considered overweight, and over 29 is considered obese.

“Millions of Americans are living with type 2 diabetes, but many more are unaware that they are at a high risk of developing the disease. While genetics and other factors do play a role, the inactive lifestyle and poor diet of many Americans is putting them at risk. Small steps toward health can make a big difference.”

At University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the healthcare-related fields. A private, coeducational institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the nation’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the healthcare marketplace since its founding in 1821, including founders of six of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. With undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in such disciplines as pharmacy, bioinformatics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy, the 3,000 students in the University of the Sciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in their communities and in the lives of people worldwide. For more information about University of the Sciences, visit www.usp.edu.

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