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Number of people with diabetes rises in Utah - Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 4/30/2014

(Standard-Examiner) OGDEN -- SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to type 2 diabetes, there’s both good and bad news to report, according to a recently released New England Journal of Medicine study.

The good news — heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, amputations and other complications stemming from diabetes dropped in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010. The bad news — the number of those being diagnosed with the disease are on the rise.

“In Utah we saw similar results when we looked at crude rates of complications,” said Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Brenda Ralls. “Utah data show that there has been a slight drop in some of the complications mentioned in the study; however, the rate of diabetes itself nearly doubled in the same period, from 3.8 percent in 1990 to 7.2 percent in 2012.”

According to UDOH, more than 135,000 Utah adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and about 500 Utahns die every year from the disease and it’s complications.

Dr. David Schmitz, a family physician at Ogden Clinic’s Canyon View Office in Ogden said he sees patients with diabetes every day in his practice.

“I estimate that 20 percent of all of our patient visits are for diabetic related concerns,” he said.

Dr. Natalie Trent, a family medicine resident at Porter Family Medicine Clinic at McKay-Dee Hospital, said about 30 percent or more of her patients have diabetes.

“Diabetes is something I commonly treat,” she said.

Diabetes is a disease that disrupts the way your body uses sugar, Schmitz said. All of the cells in your body use sugar for energy. Sugar is found in some of the foods we eat, absorbed by our stomach and intestines and into our blood. Insulin is a hormone that carries the sugar out of our blood and into our cells where it is converted into energy. If your body stops making Insulin you develop type 1 diabetes. If your body stop responding normally to the insulin your body makes then you have type 2 diabetes. The disease can be diagnosed through a simple blood test.

“Diabetes is becoming more prevalent because as a society we are simply gaining too much weight,” Schmitz said. “Many Americans eat too much, eat unhealthy foods and don’t get enough exercise. Sixty percent of Americans are overweight and 40 percent of American are obese. If you have a parent or sibling with diabetes you are 5 times more likely to develop the disease yourself.”

Trent said of diabetes include excessive urination or thirst, fatigue, weight loss, vision changes, burning pain or numbness in the feet, recurrent infections, sores that are slow to heal and hunger.

To prevent getting type 2 diabetes, both physicians recommend getting regular exercise, eat a diet that is high in vegetables and fruit but low in carbohydrates. Maintaining a normal weight is also very important and if you are overweight, do everything you can to eat right and exercise to get back to your optimal weight.

“Losing weight can be tough, but it is crucial to prevent diabetes,” Schmitz said.

For people to best manage diabetes after being diagnosed, it is critical they work with their health care provider.

“Talking with your doctor, maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and getting daily physical activity are key,” said Ralls. “Taking medication as prescribed and getting their screenings are also important things in managing the disease and avoiding complications.”