According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every ten Florida residents has diabetes, and as many as one in three adults could have diabetes by the year 2050. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.
However, unlike Type 1 diabetes where the body is incapable of producing any insulin, Type 2 diabetes is reversible and can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. More than half of all type 2 diabetes cases could be controlled without insulin treatments by taking the necessary steps to reduce unhealthy, excessive body weight. Mount Sinai’s endocrinology team monitors lifestyle choices to help recommend dietary changes that are focused on healthy weight loss coupled with increasing the level of regular exercise.
This combination of medical intervention and guidance can help patients lower their blood-glucose levels and avoid many of the severe health complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood glucose. Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes, as well.
Type 2 diabetes can also increase the risk for certain types of cancer, according to a consensus report from the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Diabetes doubles the risk for developing liver, pancreatic, or endometrial cancer.
Some risk factors for diabetes that can’t be modified include age, family history and race/ethnicity. People over 40 are at an increased risk for developing diabetes. If you have a close relative who has diabetes, your increased risk may be due to a combination of shared genes and/or lifestyle factors. And, type 2 diabetes is more common in Hispanics African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Risk factors that can be modified include diet, weight and physical activity, as previously mentioned, but also smoking and alcohol consumption. Smoking can increase blood sugar levels and decrease the body’s ability to use insulin. It can also change the way the body stores excess fat, increasing fat around the waist, which is linked to diabetes. Alcohol is processed in the body very similarly to the way fat is processed, and alcohol provides almost as many calories. Therefore, drinking alcohol in people with diabetes can cause your blood sugar to rise. If you choose to drink alcohol, only drink it occasionally and when your diabetes and blood sugar level are well-controlled.
Dr. Leila Chaychi is Mount Sinai Medical Center’s newest endocrinologist. Dr. Chaychi sees patients at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Mount Sinai Aventura’s multi-specialty physician office and Mount Sinai Primary & Specialty Care Coral Gables. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chaychi, call 305-674-CARE (2273) or visit msmc.com.
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