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Interview with Dr. Jan Ulbrecht on Diagnosis of Diabetes

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Medical Minute—2:25

Steve Williams: We’re visiting with Dr. Jan Ulbrecht, currently 25.8 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes. Let’s talk important information that people should know when they’re diagnosed with diabetes. Why should those recently diagnosed with diabetes know how to monitor their blood sugar?

Dr. Ulbrecht: This is a really important issue, and I’m often asked by patients and others what type of diabetes is most dangerous. And my answer is always very early diabetes, because it’s so easy to sort of pretend it isn’t happening – ignore it – and yet we know that controlling diabetes, particularly early on, makes a huge difference to what happens later in terms of complications of diabetes and even longevity. So, controlling diabetes is key – controlling diabetes from day one is key. And an important part of that is knowing what your blood sugar is. If you don’t test your blood sugar, it’s a little bit like driving with your eyes closed. Yes, you might make it somewhere, but probably not very far.

Steve Williams: Why is it important for people with diabetes to know what to eat, when and how much you eat?

Dr. Ulbrecht: Well, I think this is probably rather apparent to all of the listeners, but sugar comes from food. At least primarily it comes from food. And it comes from all carbohydrate food. That would be anything that grows, basically. And, it isn’t that people with diabetes shouldn’t eat those kinds of foods, but they need to understand how different foods, especially carbohydrate foods, affect their blood sugar and how to make that fit in the best possible way into controlling their blood sugar day to day.

Steve Williams: Are people recently diagnosed with diabetes usually prescribed medications?

Dr. Ulbrecht: Most of the focus now is on type 2 diabetes. It should be said that type 1 diabetes typically develops in relatively young people. Type 1 diabetes always needs insulin from day 1. In type 2 diabetes, we actually often will use medication early on as well, and the medication that’s used most commonly is metaformin. And this is because it delays the progression of diabetes and helps the body in some other ways as well.

Steve Williams: And where can community members learn more about diabetes management?

Dr. Ulbrecht: If you have concerns or questions you can go to mountnittany.org.

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