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Local Physician Offers Insight on Diabetes Management

Local Physician Offers Insight on Diabetes Management

Many households in the Tri-City Area have been impacted by diabetes. It is a condition growing in prevalence in our community. To help understand causes and options to manage diabetes, Washington Hospital will sponsor an online Health & Wellness seminar on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

A major contributing factor to diabetes is body weight. At the 2 p.m. seminar, “Managing Diabetes,” Dr. Thomas Collins-Pallett, a Washington Township Medical Foundation family medicine specialist, will explain how newer medications can help diabetics control their weight, one of the keys to successful diabetes management. He also will discuss techniques for eating healthy and satisfying meals.

Successful diabetes management is achieved by focusing on lifestyle changes, Dr. Collins-Pallett notes. The key is a combination of a healthy diet, achieved by selecting a variety of foods that keep blood sugar under control and an exercise plan to reduce weight.

Exercise burns off excess sugar, he explains. “Fat releases sugar into the blood system and excess fat makes it difficult to keep blood sugar levels at healthy levels. Exercising causes your body to use that excess sugar, so it's particularly helpful for diabetes.”

Knowing which foods to choose when you walk down the grocery aisle is also essential for diabetes management. For example, an apple is better than an orange. The orange will turn its carbs into sugar much more quickly than the apple. Knowing which items are high on the glycemic index (a rating system that shows how quickly each food item affects your blood sugar when eaten on its own), is important for successful diabetes management.

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. The body breaks down most food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases into the blood stream. Normally, the pancreas produces insulin to manage the glucose and direct it to the body’s cells to use for energy.

With diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it effectively. Without sufficient insulin, too much glucose remains in the bloodstream. Over time, this can cause various complications such as vision loss, neuropathy affecting circulation—especially in the extremities (hands/feet), heart disease including strokes, and kidney disease, among others, Dr. Collins-Pallett explains.

Medications can help control diabetes, both through weight loss and by controlling insulin production. Some medications have been used for a number of years and other much newer ones are available to treat various diabetes complications. Some limit the liver’s ability to make and release more sugar; others stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin or reduce the body’s resistance to insulin.

Newer medications help the kidneys eliminate the excess sugar, preventing it from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. They also limit the ability of the kidneys to take in sugar, which increases the amount of sugar removed from the body by urination. Others help the pancreas produce insulin in more intelligent ways. Some help support weight loss by working in the part of the brain that regulates appetite and food intake.

The seminar can be viewed live on Facebook and YouTube. For Facebook, sign in to your account and then go to facebook.com/WashingtonHosp. YouTube does not require an account. Simply go to YouTube.com/whhsInHealth.

To learn more about Dr. Collins-Pallet and other primary care physicians, click on the Find a Doctor tab on wtmf.com. For information about nutrition services offered at Washington Hospital, visit whhs.com/nutrition.