Porter Regional Hospital firmly believes that the first step to prevention is education. The hospital held its Battle of the Blood Sugar event on the evening of Tuesday, November 19. Endocrinologist Ashley Therasse, MD, discussed the growing rate of pre-diabetes, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, and eventually an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and more.
“Specializing in the field of endocrinology allows me to treat a wide variety of hormone related conditions while building long-term relationships with my patients,” said Dr. Therasse. “Many of my patients have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or other conditions that affect the endocrine system. It is my goal to empower them to maintain a healthy lifestyle."
Dr. Therasse started the presentation off by discussing the basics of diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not make enough insulin or is not able to use the insulin it has correctly. High levels of blood glucose characterize the disease. Glucose is the basic fuel of the human body; it is commonly known as “blood sugar.” Subsequently, major issues arise when cells do not absorb glucose. Diabetes has two types which root from two different causes.
Type 1 Diabetes destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin; therefore, very little or no insulin is produced. Type 1 Diabetes is most often seen in children and adolescent, but can develop at any age. Approximately 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes are Type 1. Unfortunately, there is no prevention currently available for it. However, the treatment used for it is insulin, which can be taken in two different ways, daily injections or an insulin pump.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form. Type 2 can develop at any age, specifically adulthood. Initially, extra insulin is produced to make up for the body’s insulin resistance, but over time the pancreas can’t keep up. Risk factors for Type 2 include family history, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits. Being overweight also possesses as a risk factor. Warning signs for the disease include frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, and excessive thirst.
Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 people do not know they have pre-diabetes. In Indiana alone, 10.2% of the population has diabetes. Dr. Therasse stressed the importance of regular doctor visits in order to avoid complications, such as the potential for a heart attack or stroke and kidney failure.
Sounds intimidating, right? No need to fear! In the second half of the presentation, Dr. Therasse discussed treatment, which included diet, exercise and medications. Several medications were mentioned, such as the different oral medications and insulin options available. Maintaining a stable, healthy weight, regular physical diet, and sensible diet are key habits to incorporate into your lifestyle in order to prevent diabetes.
Staying physically active plays a huge role in preventing the disease. The Valparaiso YMCA is starting a new diabetes prevention program in February 2015. Small group, discussion based classes will be conducted by a certified instructor. Topics include weight loss, healthy eating, and physical activity. If you are interested, call the Valparaiso YMCA at 219-462-4185 and ask for Lee Baker.
Have more questions? Contact Dr. Therasse at 219-263-7550 or Porter Endocrinology located at 1101 E Glendale Blvd, Suite 103 in Valparaiso.