Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 13

About the same time, Anderson also
made exercise a part of his routine,
biking while he was in Manhattan and
running while in L.A. He kept a close
eye on his blood sugar, checking it
three times a day.
His efforts paid off. Anderson lost
46 pounds, enough to have a positive
effect on his blood sugar. It also meant
that the production crew on Law &
Order had to buy a new wardrobe for
his character.
Petersen stresses the importance of
weight loss to diabetes management,
because excess body fat leads to insulin
resistance, or an inability of the body to
properly deal with glucose.
"It is the cornerstone of what we can
do to potentially curb and treat diabetes," he says. "There is a genetic component, yes. But if you have that genetic
component, then the leading risk factor
you have control over is your weight."
The good news is that weight loss
doesn't need to be as dramatic as
Anderson's to yield results. Losing 5 to
10 percent of your body weight-that's
10 to 20 pounds for a 200-pound person-can greatly reduce the risk of
heart-related diabetes complications,
according to the journal Diabetes Care.

The Magic of Moderation
Being handed a diagnosis of diabetes
is stressful, but managing the disease
doesn't have to be overwhelming.
"Yes, there is a lot to think about,"
says Joanne Rinker, RD, a certified diabetes educator and a spokeswoman for
the American Association of Diabetes
Educators. "Talk to your diabetes educator about which changes are important right now, and take them one at
a time."
In addition to eating less, Anderson
focuses on reducing the amount of
refined carbohydrates he eats. He still
allows himself sandwiches, but now
he has half, so he's eating one piece of
bread instead of two. When he's hungry
for pasta, he opts for multigrain.

"It's really just about portion control and making healthier choices,"
Anderson says.
Rinker recommends moderation
when starting an exercise routine, too.
"If you haven't done much activity
before, start with 10 minutes of walking around your neighborhood," she
says. "Associate walks with mealtime.
Walk and then eat breakfast, or walk
after lunch and dinner. At the end of
the day, you're at [the recommended]
30 minutes."
Eventually habits will form, and eating well and exercising will become
second nature. That's what happened
for Anderson, and he hopes his story
will inspire others to make changes.
Whether acting as a spokesman for
the FACE Diabetes campaign, which
stands for Fearless African-Americans
Connected and Empowered, educating
his family or incorporating lines about
the disease into Black˙ish, Anderson's
goal is to live by example.
"I found out that when I'm doing
interviews like this, I am and have
become an inspiration to people. They
stop me on the street and they tell me,
'I read this article that you did, and I
just want to let you know because of
you, I've turned my life around,' " he
says. "I hear stories like that all the
time, and it makes me feel good about
going public with my disease and trying to inspire people."
And what an inspiration Anderson
has become. No -ish about it. ■

CRYSTAL
BALL FOR
DIABETES?
Like a crystal ball for your future
health, an online calculator can predict whether you're likely to develop
diabetes and heart disease. It provides
an easy-to-understand "metabolic
severity" score that is more accurate
in predicting disease than traditional
methods, a large study has found.
"We have ongoing studies to
assess specific thresholds of risk
associated with a certain score,
but we found in one study that
70 percent of individuals with a
score of 0.25 or higher will develop
diabetes within 10 years-hopefully
giving them an incentive to change
their lifestyle," says Mark DeBoer,
MD, a UVA Health System physician
and co-developer of the Metabolic
Syndrome Severity Calculator.
The calculator weighs risk factors
(obesity, high blood pressure, high
fasting triglycerides, low good cholesterol and high fasting blood sugar)
but also takes into account race,
gender and ethnicity. This is key, as
African-American men, for example,
are unlikely to be diagnosed with
metabolic syndrome (having three
or more risk factors) but still have a
high risk of developing cardiovascular
disease and Type 2 diabetes.
In a study in the Journal of the
American College of Cardiology,
DeBoer and his co-developers at
University of Florida found that their
calculator's predictions lined up well
with actual cases of cardiovascular
disease and diabetes.

WEBSITE

Calculate Your Risk of Diabetes
The Metabolic Syndrome Severity Calculator is primarily intended
for physicians but can be used by anyone who has the needed health
information, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. To try it, go to
mets.health-outcomes-policy.ufl.edu/calculator.

WINTE R 2017

13


http://mets.health-outcomes-policy.ufl.edu/calculator

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