Diabetes levels have sky-rocketed across the country, especially for type two diabetes, which is primarily caused by being overweight and a lack of exercise.
Mississippi has the highest numbers in the country. But a new drug recently approved by the FDA is making it easier and less painful for many patients.
The new drug takes some of the sting out of injections, and there are other benefits, as well. That's welcome news for Betty Allen, a retired nurse from Biloxi, who has been living with type two diabetes for several years.
"Unfortunately, I didn't do what I should have, didn't watch my weight and exercise enough. I take Byetta twice a day now, once in the morning and once at night," Allen said.
The new drug marks a new beginning in treatment for Allen, who is one of the first patients on the coast to try the drug that will take her from two injections per day to only one per week.
The drug is called Bydureon, and Diabetes Educator KC Arnold from the Diabetes Center in Ocean Springs, is glad to be on board with it.
"And we're excited to have another option for people with type two diabetes. This is a group of medications that tells your brain you have had enough to eat, and tells your pancreas to produce more insulin."
Arnold says there are numerous benefits; some unexpected.
"We have nothing else for type two diabetes that is one a week, and this group of drugs also has weight loss associated with it, so that's exciting for us because so much of what we do causes weight gain."
Type two diabetes continues to grow around the country, and Arnold says there are more groundbreaking treatment options on the horizon.
"It's amazing where we are going with technology and medication options."
Options that are improving quality of life for patients like Allen. She's making the switch from Byetta to Bydureon this week.
"I'm really looking forward to it."
Talk to your doctor about whether you might be a candidate for Bydureon. And while these new treatments are a welcome addition, Arnold says it can't be stressed enough that Type Two Diabetes can often be prevented with proper diet and exercise.
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