CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Medical Center – Longview joins the efforts of the American Diabetes Association to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and help support people to make lifestyle changes.

As estimated by the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States – 8.3% of the population – have diabetes, and approximately 86 million Americans have prediabetes.

“Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of insulin, a decreased ability to use insulin, or both,” explained Longview CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic Endocrinologist, Dr. Noman Saif. “Insulin is important because it allows glucose (sugar) to enter our cells and be converted to energy. When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in our blood and, over time, damage vital organs.”

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. According to Dr. Saif, “Type 2 diabetes most commonly occurs in people who are overweight and over the age of 40.” Dr. Saif adds that while most cases are preventable, it remains the leading cause of diabetes-related complications, such as blindness, chronic kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations, among adults.

There are a number of factors that increase a person’s risk for developing prediabetes and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes. Some of these characteristics include family history, race or ethnic background, age and history of gestational diabetes.

The good news is that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced with a firm commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Saif stressed five simple steps to help prevent diabetes:
• Regular physical activity
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Eat plenty of fiber
• Choose whole grains
• Talk to your doctor about regular blood glucose screenings

Dr. Saif adds, “If you’ve been told you are prediabetic, it should be a major wake-up call to make life changes to prevent developing full-blown diabetes. Without any intervention, someone who has prediabeties can develop type 2 diabetes in a matter of a few years.”

For more information about diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Saif, call 903.606.DOCS.