Can Type II diabetes be prevented?
San Antonio is one of 25 cities nationwide participating in a six-year Diabetes Prevention Program aimed at preventing or delaying onset of Type II or "adult onset" diabetes in an estimated 21 million Americans at risk for the disease.
Co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the project has enlisted the Health Science Center as the only site in Texas to help locate and test individuals with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
"People with impaired glucose tolerance have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes," says Steven M. Haffner, MD, professor of medicine in the division of clinical epidemiology at the Health Science Center and principal investigator for the San Antonio portion of the study. "We are looking for volunteers who might have IGT to help us find out if by lowering blood sugar levels, through diet and exercise or medication, people can prevent or delay getting Type II diabetes."
Most people with IGT don't realize they have it, according to Dr. Haffner. Risk factors include obesity, a family history of diabetes or a history of gestational diabetes when pregnant.
The national program will involve 4,000 volunteers. San Antonio is expected to provide 160 of those. Volunteers will be assigned to one of four treatments: one group will emphasize intensive lifestyle factors such as 30 minutes of walking daily, one will be treated with the diabetes drug metformin, another will receive the diabetes drug troglitazone, and one group will receive a placebo drug.
The San Antonio researchers are seeking men and women ages 25 and older. Although the researchers are especially interested in the Hispanic population, all ethnic groups are eligible to participate. For more information about the study, call (210) 567-4799.
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