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Living with Diabetes? Understanding the Disease from a Diabetologist’s Perspective

Understanding the Disease from a Diabetologist’s Perspective

– By Kara Jacobs –

Dabetes is a term most Americans are becoming too comfortable with in their daily life.  Recent studies show that more and more of our local population are being diagnosed with diabetes–a disease that is largely preventable.

Charles Kilo, M.D., of Millennium Physician Group in Naples, remembers growing up when the diabetes rates were significantly lower.  “When I was growing up 1 in every 30 Americans were diabetic,” he says. “Currently 1 in every 16 Americans are now a diabetic.”

And, that’s why some local physicians are taking a stronger stance in the fight against diabetes.  And the first step in the fight?  Providing better education to patient’s when they first learn they may be heading towards a diabetes diagnosis.  “I work with patient’s every day in regards to their diabetes management,” says Dr. Kilo. “Making sure they have the right answers to their questions is key.”

A Passion for Diabetes Education
Dr. Kilo grew up with his mind on diabetes.  “My dad was endocrinologist so I went on to follow in his footsteps, not as an endocrinologist but as a diabetologist.”  Not only did his father’s profession impact him, but he remembers a particular study growing up that changed his view of diabetes.

“I remember when the University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP Study) concluded that glycemic (sugar) control didn’t matter.  My father was one of the first endocrinologists to state the study was flawed, as we all know today that sugar control is one of the most important aspects of controlling diabetes.  That study changed my life growing up and I still have the original article hanging in my office today.”

There are many benefits to seeing a primary care physician who is also a diabetologist.  A diabetologist solely specializes in diabetes.  “Any doctor that is up-to-date on diabetes care is important,” he says. “A diabetologist, however, can see the patient’s needs and goals as a diabetic.”

Understanding Diabetic Terms
The key question that Dr. Kilo is often asked is to explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  “Type 1 diabetes is the auto-immune process that destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas that usually occurs under the age of 18,” he says.  “Type 2 diabetes differs because it is usually age, genetically, and lifestyle related.”

It’s with Type 2 diabetes where local physicians are seeing an epidemic among children.  “It used to be that we would never see Type 2 diabetes until later in life, but now children under the age of 18 are being diagnosed with Type 2.”

The biggest impact on the fight against diabetes in children is making sure they get enough exercise and a healthy diet. “Encouraging your child to exercise in the afternoon after school—even playing in the backyard—is extremely helpful to their health,” says Kilo. “We also want to assist them in choosing healthier food options.”

Diagnosing Diabetes
So how does diagnosis of diabetes work?  “Testing a patient’s fasting blood sugar, a random blood sugar test, or an old fashioned glucose tolerance test that measures the body’s response to sugar can all diagnose diabetes,” says Kilo.  “Knowing your numbers is essential in taking control of the condition.”

Knowing your “number” relates to your blood glucose number.  “If a patient’s blood glucose reading is over 100 then that patient is in the pre-diabetes range,” says Kilo.  “Anything 126 or greater is Diabetic.”

If your blood glucose reading is just a little over 100, then patients should take the term “pre-diabetes” seriously.   It’s the perfect time to sit down with your physician and plan lifestyle choices that will lead to a healthier future.

Taking Control of Diabetes
Understanding what your body needs is essential in keeping your diabetes in control and not in control of you.  Additionally, diabetes affects many organs in the body and it is necessary that a diabetic coordinate their care between many physicians.  Between Ophthalmologists and Podiatrists many diabetics become overwhelmed by the amount of care needed.  “You need a quarterback to help call all of the shots in your diabetic care and your primary care physician should be the one calling the plays.”

“Patients have to understand their diabetes to achieve a healthy life with diabetes.  If you ignore it you are ignoring your future.  Don’t wait for diabetes to take control over you.  Take the initiative to take control over diabetes,” says Dr. Kilo.

495 Pine Ridge Rd., Suite 4 – Naples, FL 34109
239-594-5456 | www.MillenniumPhysician.org

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