When it comes to diabetes, San Antonio is heading in the wrong direction, with more patients being diagnosed with diabetes earlier in life, leading to a longer period of time in which expensive treatment is necessary, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Dr. Carmelo Otero, a cardio thoracic surgeon at San Antonio’s Southwest General Hospital, says 60 to 70 percent of his patients now come to him with diabetes related issues, and he says what really concerns him is the fact that those patients are getting younger and younger.
"The incidence of diabetes is going up, and there are more and more people being diagnosed, younger diagnosis, which means they have a longer time ahead of having problems," Dr. Otero told News Radio 1200 WOAI.
He says the problems remain the same and the message doesn't seem to be hitting home. The best way to avoid the risk of diabetes, even among individuals at the greatest genetic risk for the disease, is to eat right and exercise, but Dr. Otero says that's not happening.
"Kids used to be out on the streets running around with their friends," he said. "Today you have kids by themselves, with an iPad or sitting in front of the TV, and they are very inactive."
A new study shows not only are diet and exercise very effective in fighting diabetes, but just holding your weight down isn't enough. Researchers say the type of food you eat is important, and it is important for patients to participate in both a healthy diet and exercise. Many people believe, for example, that if they exercise they can eat as much as they want because the activity will counter it, and that is not the case.
About 29 million Americans have some form of diabetes, with about one third of those still undiagnosed. Several studies have pointed out that Americans of Latino heritage are significantly more likely to be at risk for diabetes.
"You take a good balanced diet, you exercise, and you are going to become more resistant to diabetes, it's as simple as that," Dr. Otero said.