Today’s modern medicine offers advantages never before seen, from vaccines against viruses to early detection of cancer. Yet children born after 2000 are actually expected to live shorter lives than their older brethren.
Blame it on increasing levels of obesity and inactivity and their consequences: diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said Anne Peters, professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. Peters directs the USC Clinical Diabetes Program.
But Peters is urging Americans to get up and take control of their own health, deterring and managing diabetes before it becomes life threatening. In her recently released book, Conquering Diabetes: A Cutting-Edge, Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment (Hudson Street Press, $24.95), Peters lays out easy-to-understand steps readers can take to determine their own diabetes risk and get a handle on the disease.
In the book, Peters, a pioneer in the personal management and control of diabetes, draws on her years of working one-on-one with patients. She describes how to halt pre-diabetes—a condition of higher-than-normal glucose levels in the blood that precedes diabetes.
In some cases, diabetes can be prevented. If diagnosed early, its progress can be slowed dramatically, and it can be treated effectively so that potential complications—heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure—can be reduced or even avoided altogether.
Peters also offers a prescription for healthy living for people already diagnosed with types 1 or 2 diabetes. People with diabetes can live long and happy lives when they know what they need to do to take care of themselves, explained Peters, who is also director of the USC Westside Center for Diabetes and the Comprehensive Diabetes Center at Roybal Community Medical Center in East Los Angeles. With proper treatment, she said, most people with diabetes can add 10 to 17 years to their lives.
Throughout the book, Peters gives concrete advice to those with diabetes. She urges patients to find a health-care team they can work in partnership with to control diabetes. She also gives practical guidelines for keeping track of frequent, important test results—such as glucose, lipid, blood pressure and kidney function numbers. Peters also provides specific information on diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors patients can adopt to improve their health.
More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, one-third of them undiagnosed. Another 45 million are at risk for developing it. More than 90 percent of those with the disease are not getting the treatment they need, in part because many physicians are too busy or are not aware of recent advances and the latest medications, Peters said.
The book provides not only the latest information so that patients can become better advocates for their care, but also urges patients to keep current on diabetes developments as they happen, through books, newspapers and the Internet.
Peters’ guide is available through online booksellers such as Amazon.com, as well as both mainstream and medical bookstores.