Thursday, December 07, 2017
Doctor’s Perspective
Diabetes can cause complications

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Diabetes is a complicated metabolic disorder. Most people know that that diabetes is related to poor sugar metabolism. Most people also know that a proper diet is important to help control it. Overweight patients are more likely to develop diabetes. Loss of excess weight can result in improvement of symptoms. Most people know that exercise is important for diabetics. This is true for the benefits that exercise itself provides and it is true for the weight loss that accompanies the correct amount of exercise. What is less obvious is the role that sleep plays in diabetes. It is an issue for both diabetics and non-diabetics. In individuals who do not yet have diabetes, sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing diabetes at a later date. For individuals who already have diabetes, sleep also plays a major role. These individuals stay awake for more hours of the day. In order to maintain the energy to do so, they eat more when they are awake. Unfortunately, this raises their blood sugar during the day. Then when it is time for bed, their blood sugar is higher than it should be, which results in insomnia. The lack of sleep causes increased eating the next day. The cycle goes on and on. We know that lifestyle changes work as well as basic diabetic medications. Those changes also do not have the side effects that the medications do. Diabetic complications will ultimately occur. The magic time frame appears to be about 10 years. Only 12 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes had complications within the first five years after diagnosis. That number only rose to 14 percent for patients who were between five and 10 years since the diagnosis. After 10 years, the percentage increased to 32 percent. It went higher from there. The symptoms might involve the brain. There can be memory loss or stroke. Diabetics are five times as likely to have strokes as the general population. Symptoms might involve blindness. Within six years of diagnosis about 20 percent of patients show vision changes. That goes up to 60 percent of patients at the 20 year point. Symptoms might include heart attacks. Diabetic patients have twice the risk of dying from heart disease. There might also be kidney failure which may result in the need for chronic dialysis. There might be gangrene and amputation due to a combination of two diabetic effects. The first is decreased sensation of pain which causes problems to advance quickly. The second is decreased blood flow to the region. The body cannot heal itself as well as someone with better circulation. I find it interesting that many individuals with diabetes think they are going to beat the odds. They do not follow the right diet, they do not exercise and they do not get enough sleep. What they do not realize is that they are actually increasing the chances of having additional health issues. The 32 percent of the population with complications at 10 years tend to be the group with poor health habits.

Lunch Bunch Lecture is Dec. 8 Learning to Love Your Aging Self will be the topic of Delaware Hospice Lunch Bunch Lecture with Dr. Judy Pierson on Friday, Dec. 8 at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. Lunch, which is $5, is from noon to 12:30 p.m. The free presentation is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. From sore joints to feeling left behind technologically to senior moments, aging presents unique challenges. In a society that worships youth it is easy to lose sight of some of the pluses of getting older. These can include less concern about what others think to the wisdom that can only come with experience to greater clarity about your priorities. Join us as we examine the benefits of getting older and how to age gracefully or disgracefully. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited. Register by Thursday, Dec. 7, by contacting Michele August at 746-4503 or email

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital to hold stroke caregiver support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a stroke caregiver support group on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center. This support group is designed for caregivers of individuals who have survived a stroke. This free one-hour support group allows stroke caregivers to meet in groups to discuss concerns, providing support and networking in order to make daily routines easier.

Pre-registration is not required and refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 302-629-6224. To learn more about Nanticoke stroke program, visit

Nanticoke Weight Loss hosts bariatric support groups Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery hosts bariatric support groups three times a month at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front Street in Seaford. These support groups provide education and support to patients before and after their bariatric weight loss surgery and are open to the public. Support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and presentations to provide useful information about nutrition, supplements, exercise and behavior modifications. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. The general bariatric support group is open to all bariatric patients before and after their surgery and is held the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The post-op bariatric support group is designed for post-op bariatric patients and is held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. The nutrition-focused bariatric support group is designed to provide nutritional support to bariatric patients and is held the fourth Monday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m.

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold childbirth classes on Tuesdays this month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the ground floor conference room. The class will meet each Tuesday for a total of five weeks four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class. The last 2017 date is Dec. 12. The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke Mother & Baby Care Center. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms, and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of Nanticoke Mother and Baby Care Center. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, contact Nanticoke Maternal Child Health Clinical Educator at 302-629-6611, extension 2540. To learn more about women health services provided by Nanticoke, visit

Nanticoke weight loss to host free weight loss seminars Nanticoke Weight Loss and General Surgery will host free weight loss seminars on Monday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front Street in Seaford. These seminars are designed to provide education to individuals considering weight loss surgery to help them make informed decisions on whether surgery is an appropriate option. Obesity is a disorder that can lead to several health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. For those who suffer with morbid obesity, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, it can also affect many organs within the body. Many patients are able to bring their BMI down through lifestyles changes under the care of their physician. For others who have not been able to achieve weight loss through these methods, bariatric surgery can be an effective method to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The weight loss seminars will consist of educational presentations by Dr. Tarek Waked to inform individuals about the many benefits of weight loss surgery. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is required. To register for one of these free seminars, call 302-536-5395.To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit