The diabetes trail

April 13, 2009 

Some folks can remember when it used to be called "sugar diabetes." People knew it tended to run in families, that it meant blood sugar levels were too high, and that if untreated it could cause blindness and vascular problems. Much more is now known, with research driven by an explosion of the disease in various age groups.

The N&O's Sarah Avery reported last week that scientists around the United States are on the path of causes and treatments of this potentially deadly disease, paticularly Type II diabetes. UNC-Chapel Hill's Dr. John Buse, director of diabetic care there, offers a piercing metaphor: "It's like having a loaded gun at home. If it's not dealt with appropriately, it can kill."

Awareness, and persuading people who are diagnosed to get treatment and stick with it, are keys to victory. But the science is interesting, exploring causes, the effects of treatment and questions such as whether too much protein with high fat could contribute to diabetes in some people. As usual, thankfully, the soldiers on these scientific front lines include many from North Carolina universities.

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