Diabetes is Often Misunderstood, Says Local Endocrinologist - 8 News NOW

Paula Francis, Anchor

Diabetes is Often Misunderstood, Says Local Endocrinologist

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Until there's a cure for diabetes, it will mean a life-long commitment to keeping it under control, a constant challenge given the nature of the disease.

A diabetes health fair this weekend will provide an opportunity to hear from experts on the subject.  In this week's Dealing with Diabetes, the Eye on Health team hears from one of the speakers who will be attending the event.

Blindness, heart attacks and amputations are all associated with diabetes. Las Vegas endocrinologist James Snyder says diabetes is often misunderstood and it can have as much to do with a person's genetic makeup as it does with their lifestyle.

Dr. Snyder explained, "The cells that make insulin in the body, called beta cells, are genetically defective. They're going to be going away faster than they can be replaced. So, everybody who has a gene for diabetes is making a little less insulin this year than they did last year."

Blood sugar levels are a key issue with diabetes. Uncontrolled, elevated levels can lead to microvascular diseases, such as retinopathy, resulting in a loss of vision. There are also macrovascular conditions that increase the risk of heart attack and peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetes' side effects can be amplified by other risk factors. "High cholesterol, and weight issues, and hypertension, and smoking, and how much exercise you get, and lifestyle issues. So, all those things have to incorporated into your treatment plan as well," said Dr. Snyder.

The more knowledge a patient has the better.

The diabetes health fair will cover many of these issues and give those affected by this disease a chance to increase awareness.

Dr. Snyder, endocrinologist, added, "They'll have the opportunities to go to workshops, have one-on-one consultations and really build up their skill level and expertise in managing their disease."

The diabetes health fair takes place Saturday, Mar. 10th at the Riviera hotel-casino. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m.  Workshops and sessions featuring inspirational speakers run throughout the day until 5 p.m.

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