Health Watch -- Diabetes and Obesity (Part 1)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Too many Americans are suffering from many of our most serious health problems.

We've heard a lot recently about the increase in both diabetes and obesity in this country. Now a new study reports that half of adult diabetics in the United States are obese. The study also found that most adult diabetics have other health problems related to or made worse by their disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. All of these factors raise the risk of health problems and even death.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that many of these problems fall into the collection of risk factors known as the metabolic syndrome. These risks include obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and a tendency to form blood clots. Dr. Scott Grundy, director of UT Southwestern's Center for Human Nutrition, says the metabolic syndrome is as strong a contributor to early heart disease as cigarette smoking.

The government study found that only 7 percent of adult diabetics had managed to reach recommended levels of blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. That puts most diabetics at greater risk for heart problems, kidney failure and poor circulation that could lead to amputation of extremities.

Diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise and with the help of medication.


Feb. 2004