inFOCUS: Men’s Health Month — preventing diabetes

inFOCUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — In this inFocus segment we take a look at why men are more likely to get type two diabetes at a lower weight (yes, pounds) than women.

Diabetes is very common — but it’s very treatable and also very preventable.

Many men put off going to the doctor. That poses a challenge to them for preventative care. Especially when at risk for diabetes, a metabolic disorder that raises blood sugar levels too high.

Stacy Schultz is a registered dietician & diabetes educator. She says those with Type One diabetes have a pancreas with little or no insulin. Those with Type Two either don’t have enough insulin or their body doesn’t respond normally to the insulin it does have.

“Type One diabetes is usually children — younger, usually teenagers,” Schultz explained. “Basically it’s real easy to treat them because we know that they’re going to have to have insulin. Type Two diabetics are way different. It’s usually as we get older in life, it’s over thirty.”

Dr. Matt Hahn at River Bend Family Medicine in Hancock, Maryland sees many diabetic patients. Too many, as far as he is concerned.

“Diabetes is one of the most common conditions that we treat,” said Hahn. “We’re one of the busiest diabetes practices in the region, we’re told. And it impacts everything.”

Dr. Hahn says diabetes can be treated and managed, but not doing so could be fatal.

“If you have diabetes you’re having risks in terms of the heart, vision, kidneys, feet, so it’s really a profound disease,” Hahn said.

Both health professionals say that lifestyle is a driving determinant in conquering diabetes – meaning – eating smarter and moving more.

“As we get heavier and we sit more,” explained Schultz, “diabetes comes into the picture. It kind of goes hand in hand.”

Some consequences of ignoring diabetes include dental problems, nerve damage, foot problems, eye disease, crippling your heart and blood vessels, and kidney disease — which are all largely preventable.

“The most important thing my patients can do is an exercise on a regular basis and put good foods in the body,” said Hahn.

Getting medical attention and working with a professional who can dispense pills and help with insulin injections are also important, Hahan and Schultz add.

“The whole purpose of going to the doctor is to maintain a blood sugar level that does not destroy your kidneys and your eyes and your heart,” said Schultz.

Diabetes is in the gene pool, but carbohydrate counting and building muscle can help reverse the effects of diabetes. Doctors emphasize that to lessen diabetic risk, get tested, monitor your blood sugar, take prescribed medications and watch your blood pressure.

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