MIDLAND, Texas — More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 95% of those people have type 2 diabetes

“Type one is where your body does not make insulin, versus the second one where you have insulin but it’s not working,” said Dr. Padmaja Patel with Midland Memorial Lifestyle Medicine Center.

Neither are, so to speak, “worse” than the other, but type two is exceedingly more common. Type 2 is commonly diagnosed with people over age 45, but more children, teens and young adults are also developing it. 

This is part of the reason Midland Memorial’s Lifestyle Medicine Center has made their own affordable program to reverse it.

“We have what’s called a team-based approach involving a physician, registered dietitian, health coach and a stress management expert. We ask patients to come every two weeks and this is something we bill through their insurances. There is no additional change for patients,” said Dr. Patel.

It’s a twelve-week program that offers a lifestyle based approach to reversing type 2 diabetes. 

“The best way to not just manage, but actually reverse your diabetes is really getting on a strict lifestyle measure. Here at her lifestyle medicine center we have developed what's called an intensive therapeutic lifestyle program just to address this, and when we say reversal it means reversal of progression of the disease," said Dr. Patel.

"We know that diabetes is a chronic progressive disease. Even with medications it’s going to inevitably get worse with time."

It’s a disease many tend to think they’re powerless over due to bad genes, but Dr. Patel says that’s the biggest misconception yet.

“Even our genes can be modified. If we change our lifestyles we actually improve our genetic expression what we call is based on Epigenetics. We believe here at Lifestyle Medicine that it is a lifestyle that truly defines whether you are going to have those chronic diseases or not. So yes, it may run in the family because you may have the same lifestyle that your parents had, so it’s really not about your genes,” said Dr. Patel.

With taking the initiative to fight this disease, you’re also fighting others.

“Either their blood pressure is high, their blood cholesterol could be higher, they’re always at a much higher risk for heart disease. Many of them end up having what’s called 'fatty liver,'" said Dr. Patel.

"So these are all interconnected diseases. It’s not just the one thing that you’re dealing with. So the best part about lifestyle measures is that you’re not only treating diabetes, but you’re also helping all other co-morbid conditions to improve along with that."

Dr. Patel says 86 million people have pre-diabetes, and one in ten aren’t aware due to unclear symptoms. But you can tell if you're at risk from simply a blood test. 

For more information on diabetes and Midland Health's program you can visit their website.

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