Nye addresses growing problem of diabetes in state

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The number of diabetics and people at risk for the disease is increasing, creating a serious national health problem, Vicksburg physician Dr. Andrew Nye said Tuesday.

Speaking to Vicksburg Kiwanis members, Nye said diabetes is the next health epidemic because the numbers are getting worse.

He said there are two types of diabetes: Type I, where the body’s cells attack the insulin produced by the pancreas, and Type II, where the pancreas stops producing insulin.

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He said Type II diabetes is the most commonly diagnosed form of diabetes in people between the ages of 45 and 64, because the pancreas stops producing insulin as people get older.

He said obesity can hasten the disease by making the body insulin resistant.

Type I, he said, is usually diagnosed in children before adolescence.

“Before, it was rare to see a diabetic before 40 (years old) unless it was a child with Type I,” he said. “Now we’re seeing a mixed group that includes teenagers and children under 10 whose pancreases have stopped working.”

And Mississippi, Nye said, has the highest number of diabetics.

“One in eight people in Mississippi is diabetic and at least one-third of the population is at risk for diabetes,” he said. “There are 29 million diabetics in the U.S., and one-third are in bad shape and getting worse. The U.S. Spends $175 billion on diabetes treatment.”

He said diabetes can affect every organ in the body, adding diabetics are twice as likely to have heart trouble and half of them are likely to suffer from depression.

The reality, Nye said, is that diabetes is preventable.

The basic tools to fight diabetes, he said, are early detection and aggressive treatment, diet and exercise.

Exercise, he said, helps the body build insulin and reduces the amount of sugar in the body, while a well-balanced diet can control the body’s intake of fats, protein and carbohydrates and help reduce the amount of sugar in the body.

“People need to see their doctor regularly so if they are diabetic, it can be diagnosed and action can be taken to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood,” he said. “We need to act to get people doing the right things. This problem’s not going away.”