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By Marylou Ambrose

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Through research studies. For example, a three-year study called the Diabetes Prevention Program examined the role of a healthy diet and exercise in preventing type 2 diabetes. All 3,234 subjects had a good chance of developing diabetes because they were overweight, they already had impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes), and almost half of them were from racial and ethnic backgrounds that are more prone to type 2 diabetes than others. The subjects were divided into three groups. The first group went on a low-fat diet and exercised 30 minutes a day, five days a week; the second group took a diabetes pill called metformin; and the third group took placebo pills instead of • 38 • Preventing Diabetes metformin.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas. Getting the beta cells working again sounds like the perfect solution, but so far, this has stumped researchers. However, they have come up with an alternative: pancreas transplantation, or replacing the malfunctioning pancreas with a new one. Since 1988, more than 5,600 pancreas transplants have been performed in the United 5 States. Unfortunately, the process is complicated. The surgery is risky, expensive, and best performed on patients under age 45 who are in relatively good health.

Before blood tests were developed, urine testing was the only way to identify this problem, but this method is very inaccurate, so doctors no longer recommend it. Today, a few different tests are used to measure the amount of glucose in the blood. They all involve inserting a needle into an arm vein, drawing out a small amount of blood, and then sending it to a laboratory. Some tests require the patient to fast—not eat or drink anything but water—for at least eight hours beforehand. Random Plasma Glucose Test The random plasma glucose test measures the amount of glucose in the blood at any time of day.

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Diabetes. Examining Insulin and Blood Sugar by Marylou Ambrose


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