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NIH division director dispenses diabetes advice in advance of National Diabetes Month


BETHESDA, Md. — For the more than 30 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, the director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases division of the National Institutes of Health urged people to eat better as part of a best practice in taking care of their condition.

"People with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, move more every day and take their medicine even when they feel good," suggested director Griffin Rodgers in a blog posted Wednesday, the first day of National Diabetes Month. "It’s not easy, but it’s worth it – research has shown that these efforts can dramatically lower the risk of many diabetes-related health problems, including heart, kidney, nerve and eye diseases," he said. "[And] having a network of support can help people with diabetes cope with the daily demands that come with diabetes and help them be more successful in managing their health."

Rodgers noted that the NIH is currently researching a "precision medicine" approach to managing diabetes, where a person’s genes, environment, lifestyle and other factors all help determine the best treatment for that person. "The ongoing Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study is comparing four drugs as additions to metformin, the most common first-line type 2 diabetes medication, to determine which drug works best to manage the disease in different people," he noted.

Even as NIH seeks better pharmacological disease-state management tools for diabetes, people can take better charge of their condition by eating better and exercising, he said. "As we learn more about how to treat and someday prevent all types of diabetes, we hope you’ll use this National Diabetes Month as a chance to take charge of your health," Rodgers concluded. "Go to health visits with questions you may have. Start making small changes to your lifestyle. Learn more about diabetes with free health information from the NIDDK. Find even more ways to improve your diabetes health with the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."



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