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HEALTHWATCH: Controlling Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 26 million Americans have Diabetes. 

And over one-fourth , or seven million, of them don't know it yet.
Treatments to improve circulation for diabetics

Dr. Stuart Harlin/Board Certified Vascular Surgeon
"Diabetes refers to a condition where people are unable to properly maintain their blood sugar inside their body and so their sugars tend to go up and stay elevated with or without what they eat."

Mark Lee Smith has Diabetes.  He believes he's had it for decades, but recently it contributed to problems in his legs because of circulation issues.

Mark Lee Smith/Diabetic
"I was having difficulty walking any distance without having excruciating pains in my legs and I thought 'something's not right here'."

Smith was also losing feeling in his feet.  He sought help at the coastal vascular and interventional center.

"We do angioplasty which is just putting a baloon inside an artery and dialating it.  Sometimes we use stents which is a little metal scaffold which holds the artery open.  And we also do a lot of atherectomy, where we actually scrape out the inside of the artery, intervascularly that is, with a catheter."

The goal is to improve circulation.
"And within 24 hours of that surgery, I would say 90% of the pain went away."

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, new cases of blindness, and nontraumatic lower-limb amputations among adults in the United States. 

Dr. Huey B. McDaniel/Board Certified Vascular Surgeon
"People that end up with amputations because of diabetes frequently will start from just a teeny little scratch or blister, and people think this is not going to be a big deal, and it sort of sits there and festers and it's either unrecognized or they don't get it looked at and treated quickly enough."
As with most health issues, early detection of Diabetes is key, especially here in the "Diabetes Belt".

"The Diabetes Belt is basically the southeast part of the United States, which Florida is of course part of, where Diabetes is a lot more prevalent where we tend to be a little more reubenesque in this part of the country, we tend not to exercise as much as we should."

"American Diabetes Council authorizes an annual vascular screening.  A simple ultrasound, non-invasive, painless, no needles, no nothing, to see if they have the disease because often the disease will be insidious.  They won't even know they have it."
With early detection and better blood flow, patients can hopefully resume healthy activities.

"My goal is to start walking 5 miles a day and try to reduce my weight and perhaps lower the amount of insulin I have to take."

If you'd like more information on Diabetes or any other health related topic, you can log on to our website at weartv.com and click on "Health Watch"