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November 27, 2012 > Learn All About Diabetes Medications at Upcoming Free Seminar

Learn All About Diabetes Medications at Upcoming Free Seminar

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control has revealed that, between 1995 and 2010, the rate of diabetes cases in 42 U.S. states increased by at least 50 percent. In the remaining 18 states, the rate of diabetes doubled during the same period.

"Today, more people are living with diabetes and it's important that they understand how to manage their disease," said Adrian Palisoc, PharmD, a postgraduate pharmacy practice resident in the Clinical Pharmacy at Washington Hospital. "In addition to making lifestyle changes, people with diabetes need to understand their treatment options, and that includes the various medications and how they work."

On Thursday, Dec. 6, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Palisoc and Michele Siu, PharmD, also a pharmacy practice resident at the Hospital, will lead a free diabetes education seminar called "Straight Talk about Diabetes Medications." The class is open to the public as part of the monthly Diabetes Matters series sponsored by the Washington Outpatient Diabetes Center.

Intended to provide science-based information to help all community members increase their knowledge about diabetes, Diabetes Matters is held in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium of the Washington West building next to Washington Hospital at 2500 Mowry Ave. in Fremont. Advance registration is not required. Following the program, there will be a meeting of the Center's Diabetes Support Group. People with diabetes, their families and caregivers are welcome to participate.

"During the class, we'll start by talking about the basic biology of diabetes-what it is and how it affects your body," explained Palisoc.

When people have diabetes, the levels of glucose, or sugar, in their blood are too high. That's because the glucose stays in the blood rather than going into the cells of the body to produce energy. Ideally, insulin-a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas-helps the glucose enter the cells. When someone has diabetes, this doesn't happen.

There are two types of diabetes. With type 1, the body doesn't make insulin, so having regular insulin injections is the only way people with type 1 diabetes can control their blood glucose levels. With type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't make enough insulin and the cells don't take in glucose as well as they should.

"It's very important that people manage their diabetes because high levels of blood glucose can cause damage to vital organs, and this could lead to heart attacks, strokes or other serious, even life threatening, health problems," added Palisoc. "One way to manage diabetes is with medication."

Palisoc went on to explain that, once people start taking medication to help manage their diabetes, it is most likely they will need to be on it for the rest of their life.

"So, if someone is not on diabetes medication yet, and depending on blood test results, we encourage them to try managing their diabetes through healthy lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise," Palisoc stated. "If this doesn't help get their blood glucose levels under control, they will need to start taking medication."

Besides insulin, there is a variety of other medications to help people control their diabetes. To determine whether to take insulin or other diabetes medications, people with diabetes should talk with their doctor or healthcare team.

"The answer depends on which symptoms or complications you're experiencing, your blood glucose levels, and other factors," advises the American Diabetes Association.

In the Diabetes Matters class, Palisoc and Siu will focus on the different types of diabetes medications, other than insulin, that are available. They'll describe the six classes of drugs and explain how each works differently to lower blood glucose levels. They'll also talk about how to take each medication and the possible side effects.

In addition to taking medication, it is important that people with diabetes exercise and eat a well-balanced diet. Before starting an exercise regimen, they should check with their doctor, since they may have heart or other physical problems related to diabetes. It is best to select exercise routines they enjoy and that help to burn calories and glucose, such as walking or bicycling. It is also good to do some type of resistance or weight-lifting exercise to build muscle. When beginning an exercise program, start slowly and gradually increase the regimen over time.

To help manage their blood glucose levels, people with diabetes should also keep track of and control the carbohydrates in their diet. Foods that contain carbohydrates increase blood glucose.

At the Washington Outpatient Diabetes Center, a team of certified diabetes educators teaches people with diabetes the skills they need to control diabetes for a lifetime.

Learn more

For more information on the Dec. 6 seminar and other upcoming Diabetes Matters seminars, or if you would like to receive information about additional upcoming diabetes-related events, call (510) 745-6556. For more information about the Washington Outpatient Diabetes Center, go online to For more information on diabetes, visit the Web site of the American Diabetes Association at

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