Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center Improving Diabetes Outlook

By Hensley, Staci Elder | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 30, 2008 | Go to article overview

Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center Improving Diabetes Outlook


Hensley, Staci Elder, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Diabetes is at epic proportions in the United States, and unfortunately Oklahoma is at the forefront of that epidemic. More than 200,000 adults and children in the state - nearly one in every 10 residents -- have been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and the state ranks ninth in the nation in diabetes- related deaths. One of the key reasons for this is that Oklahoma has large populations of Native Americans, Hispanics and African- Americans - all of whom have significantly higher rates of the disease.

"Just two decades ago, the adult form of diabetes (type 2) was almost unheard of in children. Today, because of the epidemic of obesity among our youth, type 2 diabetes is being seen commonly in adolescents and children," said Kenneth Copeland, a pediatric endocrinologist with OU Children's Physicians and director of the pediatric program at the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center.

Opened in 2007, the center provides state-of-the-art care for the state's diabetics, as well as cutting-edge research into the disease. The facility joins only a handful of medical centers nationwide that specialize in diabetes treatment and research.

"The new (diabetes center) represents a strong statement on the part of our state legislators and civic-minded citizens that Oklahoma is determined to not only be reflective of the problem, but also to be a big part of the solution," Copeland said.

"Unfortunately Oklahomans are carrying a disproportionate part of the diabetes burden because obesity is more prevalent in our children than those in almost all the rest of the country. In addition, both obesity and diabetes are far more common in ethnic minority populations, especially in Native Americans, so Oklahomans are affected even more disproportionately," he said.

Even the state's leaders aren't immune. University of Oklahoma President and former U.S. Sen. David Boren is among those who face the daily challenges of living with diabetes. As well as adopting a new personal health regimen, he took public action, spearheading the creation of the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that allows the body to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy. The exact cause isn't yet known, but both genetics and lifestyle factors (like obesity and lack of exercise) play a key role. …

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