Diabetes can be a devastating disease, taking away nerve function, eye sight, limbs, and, in extreme cases, causing strokes and heart attacks. That's why the Texas Diabetes Institute is launching a new study to beat diabetes before it takes its hold on you.

"What we are seeking to do is to prevent diabetes or delay the onset of diabetes in a population that is at a high risk," said Dr. Alberto Chavez Velazquez, an endocrinologist with the Texas Diabetes Institute and clinical assistant professor at UT Health San Antonio with University Health System.

"We are taking all comers that may be at a higher risk for diabetes, and the easy way of determining that is whether you have any family history of diabetes or you might be overweight or obese," said Dr. Curtis Triplitt, an associate professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio with University Health System.

The Texas Diabetes Institute will be signing people up for this pre-diabetes study over the next three to four years. What will the study entail?

"We are doing an intervention for two years,” Dr. Velazquez said. “We are treating the patients with a pre-diabetic condition with medications that are used usually to treat type two diabetes.”

Men and women over the age of 55 have a 50 percent chance of being pre-diabetic in their lifetime. That's just one of the many reasons why this study is so important.

"In the pre-diabetes stage, we can prevent you from ever getting diabetes, whereas once you have diabetes, you're probably going to have it for the rest of your life," Dr. Triplitt said.

Two of the men already participating in the study are Hugo Rodriguez and Juan Antonio De Leon Jr.

"When they told me I was pre-diabetic, I just couldn't believe it. I had high blood pressure, but I had had that for a long time. But other than that, I felt pretty good," Rodriguez said.

De Leon Jr. added,

"When I found out there was a study that could possibly help me, I decided to go ahead and do it,” De Leon Jr. added. “They tested me and I found out I was pre-diabetic."

If you would like to learn more about the pre-diabetes study and see if you could be a part of it, call the Texas Diabetes Institute at 210-358-7200. And for more men's health information call 210-358-3045.

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