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High Blood Sugar Raises Cancer Risk

Diabetes Linked to Increased Risk of Pancreatic and Other Cancers, Study Shows

Lowering Risk

The latest population figures suggest that 64% of Americans are overweight or obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. Roughly a third of U.S. adults are obese, defined as having a BMI of 30 or more. BMI is determined by calculating height and weight. Being obese is strongly associated with numerous medical conditions and higher death rates.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics rates of obesity have increased from 12.8% in 1976-1980 to 22.5% in 1988-1994 and 30% in 1999-2000.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Kathleen Cooney, MD, and Stephen Gruber, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School, wrote if current trends continue, 40% of Americans will be classified as obese within five years and type 2 diabetes rates will rise dramatically.

Obesity has long been considered a risk factor for many types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer and cancers of the pancreas, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, gallbladder, and colon.

Cooney and Gruber noted that while the new findings directly implicate diabetes as a risk factor for many of these cancers, they don't completely explain the obesity/cancer link.

"Several complex physiological changes also result from obesity, including alterations in sex steroid levels," they wrote.

American Cancer Society epidemiologist Carmen Rodriguez, MD, says the findings strengthen the argument that keeping weight under control is key to preventing disease.

"This study clearly shows that diabetes increases the risk of certain cancers, and being overweight is a big risk factor for diabetes," Rodriguez tells WebMD. "The message is clear. You can lower your risk for these cancers by controlling your weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity."

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People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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