Running Puts You A Step Ahead of Diabetes

Many of the more than 17,000 participants expected for the Sunday Dec. 2 Las Vegas Marathon are first-time runners.

They may be running for any number of reasons, but they're getting a health benefit that may not even know about. They're leaving a little-known condition called pre-diabetes in the dust.

In this week's Dealing With Diabetes report, a local specialist says running puts you a step ahead of diabetes.

Las Vegas resident Wendy Rountree has always enjoyed sports, as an "observer." Running marathons was strictly something that "other" people did.

Wendy said, "Basically, I couldn't run from here to the corner. I literally couldn't run from here to the corner, without huffing and puffing."

In 2006, Rountree left the sidelines and ran in her first half-marathon. And she plans to cross the finish line again this year.

"You'd be amazed at what you're able to do," she said.

This kind of lifestyle change is an excellent way to fend off pre-diabetes, a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as Type-2 diabetes.

Las Vegas endocrinologist Fred Toffel says there's an alarming prevalence of pre-diabetes.

"They say there's 22 million people with diabetes. There's probably at least that many if not more with pre-diabetes roaming around out there, not knowing about it," said Dr. Toffel.

But studies show that people with pre-diabetes who improve their diet, lose some weight, and take on regular exercise cut their risk of Type-2 diabetes in half.

Dr. Fred Toffel said, "I'll tell you, I have very few people in my practice who are marathon runners. The reason is that marathon runners tend not to get Type-2 diabetes.

Dr. Toffel stresses it doesn't take marathon-level training to make a difference. Even moderate regular exercise may stop the progression of pre-diabetes.


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