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Lifestyle can alter gene activity July 3, 2008

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Erica Cline at 706/828-2225.

Lifestyle can alter gene activity, lead to insulin resistance

A Finnish study has found that physical inactivity and acquired obesity can impair expression of the genes which help the cells produce energy. The findings suggest that lifestyle, more than heredity, contributes to insulin resistance in people who are obese. Insulin resistance increases the chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Robin Petry, a certified diabetes instructor with University Hospital's Diabetes Services, noted that taking control of your lifestyle choices can help people avoid or delay developing diabetes, which affects more than 20.8 million children and adults in the United States. Nearly one-third of people with diabetes are unaware they have the disease.

Diabetes is such a debilitating disease, Ms. Petry said, because it affects so many different areas of the body: cardiovascular health, the kidneys, the eyes and the nervous system.

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes.

Some diabetes symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurry vision

If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.

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