Diabetes is a top concern in the Borderland. Experts say one in five adults in El Paso has the illness.
New research happening locally could warn you about your risk sooner.
Researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso are hard at work trying to prevent diabetes with a test that takes minutes and can detect the disease years in advance.
“Using our test, if we detected somebody who has early metabolic irregulation that might be five years before that person develops pre-diabetes,” said David P. Cistola, MD, PhD, the director of the Center of Emphasis in Diabetes and Metabolism
It was 2014, when Cistola and his team discovered how to measure water in the blood to find out the risk for diabetes.
“Based on measuring the way the water tumbles in the blood. It’s amazing because water is a system for all the proteins and lipids in the blood. With one measurement we can get a big picture of what all the lipids and proteins are doing,” said Cistola.
Right now, tests will only tell you once you already have pre-diabetes.
Cistola said El Paso has a higher number of diabetes cases because of the population.
“The United States and Mexico are among the countries who have higher rates of diabetes. Here on the border you can imagine that we would have a blend of those two levels of diabetes and that’s the case,” said Cistola.
Cistola’s team hopes the research will lead to patients being screened during a routine doctor’s visit with time to make lifestyle changes.
“We need to look at younger people who may not have things that are displaying as symptoms but they might have compromises that aren’t being seen in the clinic,” said Erin Campbell, a medical research assistant.