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New Treatments for Diabetes to Be Unveiled

The Stats Are Staggering continued...

Why the explosion in diabetes? Look to this country's ever-expanding waistline for the answer.

"The diabetes incidence is being driven to a large extent by the obesity epidemic -- and people can't ignore it anymore," says Barry J. Goldstein, MD, director of the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolic disease at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

Barbara Corkey, PhD, agrees.

"The fact that the incidence [of obesity] is increasing so dramatically in children is very frightening to people," says Corkey, chair of the ADA's program committee and professor of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University. "[At this rate,] it looks like almost everybody will have diabetes and obesity."

Diabetes and Heart Disease: Partners in Crime

Probably the biggest chunk of research presented at the conference will focus on increasing evidence that links diabetes and heart disease. To increase public awareness of the link, the ADA will announce at the meeting the launch of its Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Initiative, a three-year effort that corresponds with a similar plan, the government's National Diabetes Education Program.

Such campaigns are necessary because even though most people with diabetes seem to be aware of their increased risk for heart disease, they're not doing much of anything to protect themselves, says Corkey, director of the Obesity Research Center at Boston Medical Center.

As the meeting progresses, WebMD will cover new research that confirms her statement: One study, for instance, will show that the majority of people with diabetes and high blood pressure maintain inadequate control of their blood pressure, and that less than half of them are taking the gold-standard drugs to help keep their blood pressure in check.

Another disturbing study will show that not only are diabetics doing a relatively poor job of controlling their blood pressure and cholesterol, the situation today is not much better than it was in years past, despite an enormous amount of public health efforts to educate patients of the importance of such monitoring and control.

"The new data show that there is much poorer control of risk factors for cardiovascular disease among people with diabetes," says Corkey. "I am astonished to realize this, because one would have thought that these people would be carefully followed and monitored, but apparently not."

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