On November 7th, we enjoyed having Dr David Grygla speak to us about Diabetes. As we are aware, a diagnosis of Diabetes can be life-changing and, depending on the severity of the disease, in addition to medication, control of progression is best achieved by altering one's diet and exercising to maximize the body's use of stored insulin. Compliance with any treatment regime is most successfully achieved by tailoring a program to meet an individual's lifestyle.

Our bodies are made up of many cells, each of which fulfills a specific purpose. The hormone insulin helps unlock glucose, which cells need for energy.

Diabetes, may be diagnosed as Pre-diabetes, Type I or Type 2. In Pre-diabetes, the body does not utilize insulin properly but often can be controlled by only diet and exercise. Type 1 is seen most often in the teen years or younger and is related to an autoimmune destruction, or attack by one's own body, on insulin producing cells found in the pancreas. Treatment usually entails supplementation with insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the goal is to make the body more sensitive to and provide efficient utilization of available insulin through administration of medication such as Metformin. In addition to treatment with good dietary and exercise practices and either insulin or other medication, the diabetic needs to adhere to careful monitoring of blood glucose through tests such as a simple, immediately diagnostic, finger prick or the more comprehensive Hemoglobin A1c test. The latter gives a three-month average of plasma glucose levels in the body. Risk factors for developing diabetes include obesity, smoking and genetics. According to the ADA (American Diabetic Association), anyone having a close family member, who has had heart disease or diabetes, is at increased risk for developing diabetes and should be monitored with an annual HbA1c blood test.

Approximately 50 percent of diabetics are subject to developing the complication of neuropathy because of long term effect of the disease on capillaries in various parts of the body. Damage often begins in the feet, the symptoms of which can be tingling, numbness, pain or weakness. Neuropathy also may affect the nerves of the bladder, intestinal tract, kidneys, eyes and skin.

While the disease has no cure, contemporary research and discovery of modalities for better long term control, plus maintaining an ongoing partnership with a medical professional for treatment, have made it possible for the diabetic to enjoy as relatively "normal" a lifestyle as is possible. For information, please go to the ADA website: diabetes.org.