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Diabetes Prevention Is the Best Remedy, TOPS Medical Expert Says

Tomorrow may be too late when it comes to preventing or improving a diabetes condition, according to TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization.

(Vocus) November 9, 2009 -- Tomorrow may be too late when it comes to preventing or improving a diabetes condition, according to TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for developing the most prevalent form of diabetes, Type 2 (adult-onset). Typically affecting individuals age 40 and older, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion notes that Type 2 diabetes has been reported among children and adolescents with increasing frequency. According to the American Diabetes Association, one out of every three children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue. If not treated properly, diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, foot ulcers, and the need for limb amputations.

In acknowledgment of November being National Diabetes Month, Nicholas “Dr. Nick” Yphantides, M.D., M.P.H., medical spokesperson for TOPS, says, “Preventive care, like weight loss, a healthy diet, and physical activity, is the easiest way to avoid diabetes and its complications.”

A formerly obese person who once weighed 467 pounds, Dr. Nick was a borderline diabetic and has treated diabetic individuals for years. He now focuses on preventive health, emphasizing, “There are currently 24 million people in the United States who are diabetics. There are 57 million more who are pre-diabetic, having blood glucose levels that are higher than normal and raising the potential for cardiovascular disease. Every single one of those people can either eliminate or reduce their risk for developing diabetes by improving their health through organizations such as TOPS.”

Employ the following tips from TOPS to prevent the development of diabetes:

- Eat smart. Choose low-fat, fiber-rich, and whole grain foods, which have all been associated with improved blood sugar control. Increase servings of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to help you feel full and even promote weight loss.

- Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Exercise helps keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels within a normal range. If you can’t find a solid block of time to be active, even ten minutes of exercise spread out over the course of the day, like brisk walking, can help.

- Quit smoking. According to the American Diabetes Association, smoking increases blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels (also raising your risk of a heart attack). The Rhode Island Department of Health notes that smoking even one cigarette can reduce the body’s inability to use insulin by 15%.

- Reduce chronic stress, a prolonged state of stress that can continue for days or weeks. The American Diabetes Association has found that, when under stress, the body responds by raising blood sugar levels; a study by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found that chronic stress has been linked to the development of heart disease and other conditions, as well. Try relaxation or stress management techniques, such as beginning the day with a few minutes of yoga or meditation. Breathing exercises, listening to soothing music, or watching a funny television show can help alleviate anxiety. If possible, aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night, which also can be helpful in controlling stress levels.

“Everybody has the opportunity to take control and prevent diabetes. TOPS is about giving people the sense of ‘yes, we can.’ Lifestyle transformation is a solution, and the information and support that TOPS provides can be those tools. We can all generate an epiphany and say, ‘Wait a second, I can ignite a change towards a healthier me’,” Dr. Nick points out.

For additional information on diabetes, please consult your physician.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was established more than 61 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view TOPS' Web site or call (800) 932-8677.


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