CINCINNATI—Family members can often point to a number of similarities among each other, but one that’s increasing in frequency is diabetes.
A growing number of families have multiple members with this disease. And it’s not just limited to adults. Children and teens are developing diabetes at much higher rates.
UC Physicians diabetologists Robert Cohen, MD, and Jenny Tong, MD, say making lifestyle changes and encouraging healthy habits can make all the difference for yourself and other family members with diabetes.
“It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself with diabetes takes day-to-day vigilance even when your focus should be on long-term goals like preventing complications that may take years to develop,” says Cohen, an associate professor in UC’s endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism division.
Cohen says adults with diabetes—and even those without—can teach their children important lessons about lifestyle, food and physical activity that will be with them for a lifetime.
Tong, assistant professor in the endocrinology division, says staying physically active is especially important for people with diabetes, but cautions that an exercise program should be coordinated with a balanced diet and controlled diabetes.
“Exercise generally tends to lower the blood sugar, but there are situations in which it can cause it to rise, especially in individuals with poorly controlled blood sugar,” she says. “Changes in diabetes medications and food intake are frequently needed to prevent dangerous consequences and it is best when those are planned for in advance.”
Exercise can also have different effects on people with different types of diabetes, so it’s important to consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes—with nearly 6 million of those cases yet to be diagnosed.
To schedule an appointment with the UC Diabetes Center in Avondale or at University Pointe in West Chester, call (513) 475-8200.
Diabetes patients are also now being seen by UC Physicians at Dearborn County Hospital in Lawrenceburg, Ind. Appointments can be made by calling (513) 475-7400.
For more information about diabetes, visit www.netwellness.org, a collaborative health-information Web site staffed by Ohio physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.