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New Strategies to Reduce Diabetes in Connecticut

December 2, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. - Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in Connecticut and around the country, particularly among African Americans and Latinos. A Yale University medical student has published an article in the journal Connecticut Medicine, linking the disease to its precursor, pre-diabetes, and outlining steps to reduce its toll.

Kiavash Nikkhou says pre-diabetics are usually asymptomatic and have a fasting glucose level lower than would indicate diabetes - but higher than what's considered normal. He says risk factors include abnormalities in lipid levels, as well as the following:

"High blood pressure, obesity with a body mass index of greater than 30, a previous history of impaired glucose levels, or any family history of diabetes - Type 2 diabetes, specifically."

His goal is to increase awareness among medical providers that will lead to higher levels of screening and preventive measures.

Nikkhou developed his work as a 2011 Connecticut Health Foundation Health Leadership Fellow. Along with his article, which is distributed to all physicians in Connecticut, he says he and his team have developed a packet of information available on 211-Infoline.

"With available programs for those that are diagnosed with pre-diabetes that they can access for free - exercise programs and free intervention methods to decrease their risk of progression to full-blown diabetes."

If untreated, Nikkhou says diabetes can lead to serious health impacts, including limb amputation and even death.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT