Friday, 30 April 2010

Moderate Drinking Reduces Diabetes Risk

Moderate Drinking Reduces Diabetes Risk

Adults who have a drink or two every day have a lower risk of developing diabetes than teetotalers - and the link cannot be explained by moderate drinkers' generally healthier lifestyle.

A number of studies have found an association between moderate drinking and a relatively lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but whether this reflects a direct effect of alcohol has been unclear. A compounding issue is the fact that compared with both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers; moderate drinkers generally tend to have a healthier lifestyle.

To see whether moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers from the Netherlands studied 35,625 adults, aged between 20 and 70 years free of diabetes, heart disease and cancer at the outset. Participants had their weight, height and waist and hip circumference measured and completed questionnaires on their health and lifestyle habits.

Over the next 10 years, 796 study participants developed type 2 diabetes. It was found those who averaged a drink or two per day were 45 percent less likely than teetotalers to develop type 2 diabetes. In other words, moderate drinkers - up to a drink per day for women, and up to two for men - were less likely to develop the disease than non-drinkers. The association remained true when the researchers excluded the effects of other lifestyle-related factors. For example, when they looked only at normal-weight men and women, moderate drinkers were 65 percent less likely to develop diabetes than teetotalers. Similarly, among regular exercisers, moderate drinkers had a 35 percent lower risk of diabetes.

Despite the link between alcohol and a lower risk of developing diabetes, people should not use this as an excuse to start drinking.

Are you at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?

Are you at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes refers to a diagnosis (usually for the first time) of diabetes while a woman is pregnant. The condition can lead to serious health problems for both the mother and infant.
Click here to find  out more!

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse offers this list of risk factors for gestational diabetes:

  • Having an immediate family member who has diabetes.
  • Being black or of Asian American, American Indian, Hispanic or Pacific Island descent.
  • Being 25 or older during pregnancy.
  • Being overweight.
  • Having had a prior case of gestational diabetes.
  • Having had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Eating Grapes Could Lower Diabetes Risk Factors

Eating Grapes Could Lower Diabetes Risk Factors

Eating grapes is found to lower blood pressure and decrease insulin resistance, in turn lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. New findings show that including grapes in the diet can positively impact health by lowering risk factors related to metabolic syndrome and inflammation that contributes to cardiovascular disease.

University of Michigan researchers compared two groups of rats to find the benefits of grapes for reducing insulin resistance, improving heart function, and lowering inflammation in the heart and blood.

Evidence has been mounting that grapes have genuine benefits for heart health and for preventing heart disease. The newest study from scientists used a blend of green, red and black grapes to study the effects of grapes on overweight rats fed a typical American diet, finding improved heart function, lower triglycerides, decreased inflammation, and improved glucose tolerance compared to rats not given grapes in powdered form.

The heart healthy effect of grapes was found after three months even though the animals did not lose weight.

Researchers suspect that phytochemicals in grapes, specifically grape powder, actively protected the heart cells from the damaging effects of metabolic syndrome. “In the rats, inflammation of the heart and heart function was maintained far better," compared to those not given grape powder, says Steven Bolling, M.D., heart surgeon at the U-M Cardiovascular Center and head of the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory.

Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at high risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A grape enriched diet is a simple and delicious way to reduce risk of heart disease and lessen the severity say researchers.

The best way to lower risk of heart disease is by eating a healthy diet, remain active, and keep stress at bay. Though the study was performed on rats, it is possible that eating grapes could lower heart disease and type 2 diabetes risks in humans. Phytochemicals in grapes appear to be responsible for improved heart function, lower blood pressure, and improved markers for inflammation from metabolic syndrome, found in the study. UM researchers plan to continue their studies on the heart healthy effects of dark fruits and vegetables.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Diabetes Questions Answered by an Expert

Diabetes Questions Answered

The nation is fighting a battle with diabetes. Nearly 8 percent of people in the United States are afflicted with the chronic illness, according to the American Diabetes Association. And that number is even higher in the Rio Grande Valley, with 20 to 25 percent of people affected by diabetes.

The higher percentage is due, in part, to the mostly Hispanic population. Hispanics, African-Americans and Native Americans are more prone to the disease than other ethnicities.

Dr. Kevin Weiland, who is board-certified in internal medicine, has several patients who are living with diabetes, and he strives to help them learn how to cope with the illness through healthy lifestyle habits. He authored the book The Dakota Diet, which led to the documentary Good Meat, a story that follows an obese Native American man with diabetes who goes on The Dakota Diet. After 100 days on the diet, which included buffalo meat, the man was able to drop weight and significantly improve his blood-sugar levels.

Based in Rapid City, S.D., Weiland has been practicing medicine for nearly 20 years. Here he answers a few Monitor readers’ questions, offers some prevention tips and debunks a few myths about the disease.

“What can I do to bring my sugar level down?” – Mary Saldana, 57, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: The best thing you can do is reduce your calories and exercise.

“During pregnancy, would my medication affect my baby?” – Mayra Espinosa, 30, Mission

Dr. Weiland: What’s going to affect your baby is not taking medication. A lot of time we do have those who are pregnant on insulin. It’s a natural hormone, so it’s the safest hormone we could give to a mother and her baby. That’s the Cadillac of drugs and what I’d give my wife and baby, if it were needed.

“Why do I feel numbness at times?” – Joe Vitela, 63, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: If your blood sugars are elevated, it causes swelling of a nerve. Subsequently, you can feel tingling, pain or numbness. Better blood sugar control can reverse those effects.

“If I change to a different medication, how will that affect my side effects?” – Jesse Cantu, 63, Harlingen

Dr. Weiland: The medications are designed to allow insulin to work better. It’s important to know what drug and what class of drug you’re taking. Switching for cost is a great thing and we should do that, but if your current medication is working for you, I’d stay with it.

How can I prevent developing Type 2 diabetes?

Dr. Weiland: It’s so easy! About 60 percent of our country has this syndrome called metabolic syndrome. That alone is a set up for Type 2 diabetes later on down the road. The best thing for you to do is to eat less, eat better and get that activity level up. At least 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise, at least four times per week.

I’m already obese; am I doomed to developing Type 2 diabetes?

Dr. Weiland: You’re never doomed. We have so many great things we can do to empower ourselves like diet and exercise.

Even if I lead a healthy lifestyle now, will I inevitably be dependant on insulin later in life?

Dr. Weiland: It depends. Type 2 diabetics can have such a resistance to insulin. You still may be reliant on insulin because the pancreas may be shot.

As a diabetic, should I never eat anything with sugar?

Dr. Weiland: I would put sugar on a pedestal and enjoy it infrequently and enjoy life. It’s something you have to control. Sweets are one of the pleasures in life. Why live if we can’t have pleasure?

What foods will cause spikes in my blood glucose levels?

Dr. Weiland: Any of the simple carbohydrates. You want to consume complex carbohydrates. If your body doesn’t burn the carbohydrate, the insulin will store it for you in the form of fat.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Vitamin D, Its Influence on Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels

Vitamin D, Its Influence on Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels

We read more frequently these days about the benefits of Vitamin D and the need to increase our intake of this nutrient, long known as the sunshine vitamin. Recent research discoveries show that Vitamin D has a more far-reaching effect in our health than was earlier believed, where it is known for its role in regulating the absorption and the use of calcium to help in building bones and teeth. A vitamin D deficiency is the main cause of the bone disease called rickets in infants and children and causes similar effect in adults.

For vitamin D, the current recommendation described as an adequate intake by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine, ranges from 200 to 600 IU depending on age. From birth to 50 years it is 200 International Units (IU), it increases to 400 IU when over 50 years and to 600 IU for people 70 years and older.

Many doctors consider those amounts too low and recent research seems to confirm that opinion. The March 2010 issue of Endocrine News featured a cover article on vitamin D in which it quotes Bruce W. Hollis, Ph.D., professor at the Medical University of South Carolina as saying that the lack of vitamin D is responsible for an incredible array of diseases, and that the recommended RDA allowances do not match what is really needed. Dr. Hollis says that he personally takes 4000 IU daily.

There is an independent group of experts, the Vitamin D Council, that discusses and publicizes the need for higher levels of the vitamin, which they describe as being in a class by itself targeting over 2000 genes that can affect health conditions in humans. Insufficient levels of the vitamin have been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, depression, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic diseases, bone anomalies.

For those with diabetes and higher than normal blood sugar levels the recent findings are of great interest, and should perhaps prompt them to have vitamin D levels checked, which could be done at the same time as checking blood sugar levels with the HbA1C test that is carried out every 3 or 4 months or so.

It has been speculated that diabetes may create an extra demand on the body’s supplies of vitamin D. Research in the UK in a review of 28 existing studies involving 100,000 people and vitamin D levels, reported that the study suggested a link between lower risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease when higher levels of vitamin D are present, but these results cannot confirm or otherwise that the increased vitamin D is responsible for the reduced risk of type-2 and heart disease.

In research at the University of Copenhagen reported last month, March 2010, it was summarized that vitamin D is crucial in the activation of immune system defenses and without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, the immune system’s cells will not be able to fight serious infections that occur in the body.

Perhaps everyone, but especially those who have the problem of higher than normal blood sugar levels, should become more familiar with vitamin D and whether it may possibly help in managing diabetes.

Diabetes associations do not advocate increased vitamin D intake

The American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association take a more cautious stance and are not advocating increasing intake levels of vitamin D above the current recommended levels.

The American Diabetes Association, states that more studies are needed to determine whether increased intakes of vitamin D, and calcium, are effective in preventing diabetes and related complications. In their position statement, not mentioning vitamin D specifically, it says “There is no clear evidence of benefit from vitamin or mineral supplementation in people with diabetes (compared with the general population) who do not have underlying deficiencies.”

Monday, 26 April 2010

Vitamin D, Its Influence on Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels

Vitamin D, Its Influence on Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels

We read more frequently these days about the benefits of Vitamin D and the need to increase our intake of this nutrient, long known as the sunshine vitamin. Recent research discoveries show that Vitamin D has a more far-reaching effect in our health than was earlier believed, where it is known for its role in regulating the absorption and the use of calcium to help in building bones and teeth. A vitamin D deficiency is the main cause of the bone disease called rickets in infants and children and causes similar effect in adults.

For vitamin D, the current recommendation described as an adequate intake by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine, ranges from 200 to 600 IU depending on age. From birth to 50 years it is 200 International Units (IU), it increases to 400 IU when over 50 years and to 600 IU for people 70 years and older.

Many doctors consider those amounts too low and recent research seems to confirm that opinion. The March 2010 issue of Endocrine News featured a cover article on vitamin D in which it quotes Bruce W. Hollis, Ph.D., professor at the Medical University of South Carolina as saying that the lack of vitamin D is responsible for an incredible array of diseases, and that the recommended RDA allowances do not match what is really needed. Dr. Hollis says that he personally takes 4000 IU daily.

There is an independent group of experts, the Vitamin D Council, that discusses and publicizes the need for higher levels of the vitamin, which they describe as being in a class by itself targeting over 2000 genes that can affect health conditions in humans. Insufficient levels of the vitamin have been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, depression, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic diseases, bone anomalies.

For those who have diabetes and higher than normal blood sugar levels the recent findings are of great interest, and should perhaps prompt them to have vitamin D levels checked, which could be done at the same time as checking blood sugar levels with the HbA1C test that is usually carried out every 3 or 4 months or so.

It has been speculated that diabetes may create an extra demand on the body’s supplies of vitamin D. Research in the UK in a review of 28 existing studies involving 100,000 people and vitamin D levels, reported that the study suggested a link between lower risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease when higher levels of vitamin D are present, but these results cannot confirm or otherwise that the increased vitamin D is responsible for the reduced risk of type-2 and heart disease.

In research at the University of Copenhagen reported last month, March 2010, it was summarized that vitamin D is crucial in the activation of immune system defenses and without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, the immune system’s cells will not be able to fight serious infections that occur in the body.

Perhaps everyone, but especially those who have the problem of higher than normal blood sugar levels, should become more familiar with vitamin D and whether it may possibly help in managing diabetes.

Diabetes associations do not advocate increased vitamin D intake

The American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association take a more cautious stance and are not advocating increasing intake levels of vitamin D above the current recommended levels.

The American Diabetes Association, states that more studies are needed to determine whether increased intakes of vitamin D, and calcium, are effective in preventing diabetes and related complications. In their position statement, not mentioning vitamin D specifically, it says “There is no clear evidence of benefit from vitamin or mineral supplementation in people with diabetes (compared with the general population) who do not have underlying deficiencies.”

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases and most often occurs in people older than 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that 23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes. For those curious about what’s involved in type 2 diabetes testing, the common methods are described below.

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

The most common test for diagnosing type 2 diabetes is the Fasting Blood Glucose Test. This test is usually done when the patient has consumed no food for at least 8 hours before the test (though usually 12 to 14 hours of fasting are required). It is a simple blood draw usually done in the morning for convenience. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), normal blood glucose levels are below 100 mg/dl. Impaired glucose tolerance or "prediabetes" is considered anywhere between 100 to 125 mg/dl. A diagnosis of diabetes is given for results over 125 mg/dl. The test may be performed up to 3 times before diabetes is diagnosed.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

An oral glucose tolerance test is less common and also requires an 8 hour (minimum) fast beforehand. The patient then drinks a solution containing 75 to 100 grams of glucose (a very sweet drink). Urine and blood samples are taken periodically afterwards, usually four to five times over a 3-hour period. It is normal for blood sugar levels to climb as high as 160 mg/dl in the first hour, and then go down to about 140 mg/dl or less within two hours, and then return to normal. Diabetics may rise quickly to 200 mg/dl or higher and continue to climb for several hours. According to the ADA, 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl is considered the "pre-diabetic" range at 2 hours. Over 200 mg/dl at 2 hours is considered diabetes. It may take a long time for diabetics to return to normal levels. They also may experience mild hypoglycemia (70 mg/dl or lower) in the second or third hour as blood sugar drops rapidly. Symptoms include erratic heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, confusion, unexplained fatigue, shakiness, hunger, and potential loss of consciousness.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Diabetes Linked to Atrial Fibrillation

Diabetes Linked to Atrial Fibrillation

Diabetes has been linked to a common type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. The new study reveals that uncontrolled blood sugar has a 40% greater risk of developing this chronically irregular heartbeat.

The study was led by Dr. Sascha Dublin of Group Health Research Institute, in which it was discovered by the researchers that the risk increases even more, if the people have been suffering from diabetes for long duration of time.

More than 1,400 Group Health patients, who had newly recognized atrial fibrillation, were tracked by the researchers for three years. These cases were compared with more than 2,200 controls, who did not suffer from atrial fibrillation.

The relationship between atrial fibrillation and the duration of patients’ diabetes and their blood sugar levels was for the first time examined in Dublin’s study. People with diabetes were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, as compared to the people who had no diabetes, according to the researchers.

Patients having high blood sugar were two times more prone to the risk of atrial fibrillation, as compared to the people without diabetes. Dublin said, “When a patient with diabetes has symptoms like heart palpitations, clinicians should have a higher level of suspicion that the reason could be atrial fibrillation”.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Cholesterol Lowering Drugs Linked to Diabetes

Cholesterol Lowering Drugs Linked to Diabetes

In 2004 the World Health Organization reported that more than 220 million people worldwide are struggling with diabetes.

In the United States more than 24 million suffer from diabetes, while 57 million are considered pre-diabetic. More than 18% of these numbers affect the 60 and older age group.

Because the diabetic incidence rate continues to climb, the CDC has stepped forward to proclaim diabetes to be in epidemic proportions costing more than $132 billion every year.

Diabetes is a degenerative disease that develops when the pancreas can either no longer produce adequate amounts of insulin or use it effectively to regulate the levels of blood sugar being circulated throughout the body.

Diabetes type 2 is considered the most common blood sugar disorder in the more developed countries affecting 95% of the diabetic population. The western style diet has been touted to be a major culprit.

Type 2 diabetes is believed to involve insulin receptors that have become defective and resistant to the delivery of sugars by insulin. As type 2 diabetes progresses insulin secretion by the pancreas becomes impaired causing increased serum blood sugar levels.

Research Confirming Diabetes Risk While Using Statin Drugs

The American Diabetic Association has documented that cholesterol lowering drugs can “modestly” increase the risk of developing diabetes. This was based on data pooled from several studies involving more than 57,000 subjects spanning over 3 1/2 years.

Other studies confirming the link between statin drugs and the development of type 2 diabetes were recently reported in the Lancet. (The Lancet, online, Feb. 17, 2010)

A study evaluating the statin drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) showed that patients had increased their risk in developing diabetes after taking the drug for a little more than a year and a half. Even Astra Zeneca Pharmaceutical company, the makers of Crestor, admitted that elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statin drugs, including their own Crestor

A significantly large collection of anecdotal reports by patients taking statin drugs reported increases in blood sugar levels after starting statin therapy with further escalation of blood sugars when statin doses were increased.

Statin drugs have been supported by medical authorities and pharmaceutical companies by stating that the risk of developing diabetes as a side effect is of little significance when compared to the beneficial effects of reducing the hazards of cardiovascular disease such as strokes and heart attacks.

The American Diabetes Association is advising all diabetes to start taking statin drugs whether their cholesterol levels were elevated or not.

However, a recent study completed at the University of Wurzburg, Germany looked at diabetic patients who took small doses of the statin drug Lipitor. The study spanned over four years. The results were unexpected.

Researchers found that twice as many patients died from fatal strokes that were on Lipitor versus those who were taking a placebo. This study was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005.

Low Cholesterol and Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

The adrenal cortex is responsible for making glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are hormones that are responsible for many functions, including the breakdown and usage of carbohydrates.

Cortisol is one of the more important glucocorticoids and is involved in elevating blood sugar levels, storing sugar in the liver, assisting in the carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, suppressing the immune system, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Under stressful conditions or when the blood levels of glucocorticoids are low excess cortisol is released.

Excess cortisol levels are responsible for elevated blood sugar levels, depressed immune function, changes in reproductive function, depression, anxiety, slow thyroid function, decreased bone density and excessive fat storage around the abdomen.

Because cholesterol is the precursor to glucocorticoids, when the availability of cholesterol is lowered the function of cholesterol is compromised, including the synthesis of hormones such as the glucocorticoids.

Many documented studies illustrate that changing the cholesterol balance in the body profoundly alters many functions in the body including carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in humans.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Start Metformin Early With Type 2 Diabetes

Start Metformin Early With Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 is a progressive disease and it is common to have to escalate medication to keep blood sugar under control. Metformin is a cheap, generic drug which is often used as first line therapy for those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A new study, from researchers at Kaiser Permanente, suggests that starting metformin as soon as possible after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can make a real difference in helping slow the progression of the disease.

This study was done in a clinical practice, rather than clinical trial, setting so has real relevance to the everyday lives of people with type 2 diabetes. A group of nearly 1,800 patients with type 2 diabetes in Kaiser Permanente’s health plan in Washington and Oregon was followed for around five years through electronic health records. Metformin failed at a rate of only 12% a year in those starting it within three months of type 2 diabetes diagnosis. In those starting metformin within one to two years of diagnosis, failure rate was 21.4% and the rate was 21.9% among those starting the drug three years after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Failure was defined as rising blood sugar or the need to take a second drug to control blood sugar.

We believe that starting the drug early preserves the body’s own ability to control blood sugar which, in turn, prevents the long-term complications of diabetes like heart disease, kidney failure and blindness,’ said study co-author Dr Gregory A. Nichols, an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. ‘The American Diabetes Association recommends that patients start taking metformin and make lifestyle changes as soon as they are diagnosed. This study provides more evidence to back up that recommendation.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Gene Linking Stress to Obesity & Diabetes

Gene Linking Stress to Obesity & Diabetes Discovered

Changes in the activity of a single gene in the brain can lead to metabolic changes that cause mice to develop symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, as well as trigger anxious behavior.

These findings, discovered by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers, were published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The constant stress many are exposed to in our modern society may thus be taking a heavy toll: Anxiety disorders and depression, as well as metabolic disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and arteriosclerosis, have all been linked to stress.

These problems are reaching epidemic proportions. Type 2 diabetes alone is expected to affect some 360 million people around the world in 20 years.

The connection between stress, changes in appetite and anxiety-related behavior was recently proven scientifically, but the exact reasons for this were not clear until Dr. Alon Chen of the Rehovot institute’s neurobiology department and colleagues made their gene discovery.

They found that all the body’s systems are involved in the stress response, which evolved to deal with threats and danger. Behavioral changes tied to stress include heightened anxiety and concentration, while other changes in the body include heat-generation, changes in the metabolism of various substances and even changes in food preferences.

The Weizmann team suspected that a protein known as Urocortin-3 (Ucn3) was involved in tying all of these together. Produced in certain brain cells – especially in times of stress – it is known to play a role in regulating the body’s stress response.

These nerve cells have extensions that act as “highways” to speed Ucn3 on to two other sites in the brain: One, in the hypothalamus – the brain’s center for hormonal regulation of basic bodily functions – oversees, among other things, substance exchange and feelings of hunger and satiety; the other is involved in regulating behavior, including anxiety levels.

Nerve cells in both these areas have special receptors for Ucn3 on their surfaces, and the protein binds to these receptors to initiate the stress response.

The researchers developed a new, finely tuned method for influencing the activity of a single gene in one area in the brain, using it to increase the amounts of Ucn3 produced in just that location.

They found that heightened levels of the protein produced two different effects: The mice’s anxiety-related behavior increased, and their bodies also underwent metabolic changes. With excess Ucn3, their bodies burned more sugar and fewer fatty acids, and their metabolic rate sped up.

These mice began to show signs of the first stages of type 2 diabetes: A drop in muscle sensitivity to insulin delayed sugar uptake by the cells, resulting in raised sugar levels in the blood. The pancreas then produced extra insulin to make up for the perceived “deficit.”

“We showed that the actions of single gene in just one part of the brain can have profound effects on the metabolism of the whole body,” says Chen.

This mechanism, which appears to be a “smoking gun” tying stress levels to metabolic disease, might, in the future, point the way toward the treatment or prevention of a number of stress-related diseases.

Added Sugars Pose Heart, Diabetes and Stroke Risk

Added Sugars Pose Heart, Diabetes and Stroke Risk

The average American consumes about 156 pounds of added sugar each year per capita, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That's troubling, especially when those statistics are coupled with the results of a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which says there's a significant correlation between dietary added sugars and an increased risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke, "Good Morning America's" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard said this morning on the show.

Published this week, this is the first major study to look at sugar and blood fats. It found that added sugar has adverse effects on the level of blood fats and therefore, on the heart.

Natural vs. Added Sugar

Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk, but manufacturers add extra sugar during processing, to boost the flavor or aid with preservation. Consumers may also add sugar to foods on their own.

American adults eat about 104 grams of sugar per day, but the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 25 grams per day for women and to 37.5 grams a day for men, Savard said.

Savard pointed out that teens were getting more than six times their recommended sugar intake -- or 161 grams per day.

Savard reviewed certain foods that have naturally occurring sugars:

Grapes: 1 cup has 15 grams of sugar.

Raisins: ¼ cup has 29 grams of sugar.

Grape juice: One cup has 41 grams of sugar.

Whole milk: One cup has about 12 grams of sugar. Milk sugar isn't very sweet, Savard said.

Plain full fat yogurt: Six ounces has 12 grams of sugar.

Fruit- or vanilla-flavored yogurt: About 25 grams.

When fruit is dried, though, the sugar becomes more concentrated, so consumers may be tempted to eat more to feel fuller.

Herbal Supplements For Diabetes

Herbal Supplements For Diabetes

Herbal supplements for diabetes mellitus has gained popularity among patients. This is because diabetes is a serious health problem. In fact it is one of the top leading diseases that cause death. The severity of this ailment pushes people to look for treatment that is effective in preventing diabetes. Anyone can have diabetes especially if it runs in the family. Now, there are three major types of diabetes. These are the type 1, type 2 and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is commonly called juvenile diabetes because patients diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 are children. Patients of this type of diabetes lack insulin in their system which results to increased blood glucose and urine glucose.

Type 2 diabetes is an adult-onset diabetes. Obviously, patients are in their middle age. Most patients who have this type of diabetes are obese, or have hypertension, or high cholesterol levels, and other factors.

Gestational diabetes mostly happens to pregnant women who have high blood glucose level. This type of diabetes though temporary may lead to type 2 diabetes in later period. Babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes have higher risk of other health related problems.

These types of diabetes may take diabetic food supplements under the supervision of their attending physicians. It is always wise to consult your doctor first if you plan to incorporate herbal supplements in your treatment.

Although modern medicine has done a great job in arresting the symptoms of diabetes, still, it can not be denied that herbal supplements can have positive effects. This is due to active ingredients containing essential nutrients without the threat of any adverse effects.

What are common herbal supplements that are especially formulated for people with diabetes?

There are so many dietary supplements for diabetics. Most of these supplements have the ability to lower the blood sugar or govern the insulin production in your body. The ingredients are either herbs, spices or other vegetations.

Here are the top 5 common ingredients:

* Bitter Gourd, also know as bitter melon, has been used for many centuries. In fact, people can cook it. It is categorize as an herb. It contains Charantin, a very powerful hypoglycemic agent. The effectiveness of bitter gourd is comparable to any hypoglycemic drugs.

* Bilberry is similar to blueberries but is famous in regulating insulin levels which is due to the presence of Anthocyanins, a form of flavonoids effective in controlling blood sugars.

* Fenugreek is another herb that has alkaloids, individually known as gentianine, trigonelline, and carpaine. These substances in Fenugreek are responsible in lowering the blood sugar levels.

* Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb found in India which has glycosides called Gymnemic acids. The acid is known to have the ability to defy glucose, thus lower the blood sugar levels.

* Basil leaves, specifically the holy basil or locally called "Tulsi" in India, is also very effective in assisting the pancreas to produce a good amount of insulin.

There are other plants that have curative effects for diabetes. But before taking any of it, you have to make sure that you discuss it with your doctor and ask them what they think of the herbal supplement for diabetes.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Diabetes Soaring Among South Asians

Diabetes Soaring Among South Asians in Canada

OTTAWA - Diabetes among South Asian immigrants is soaring in comparison with rates for other immigrant groups, clocking in at three times higher than among newcomers from western Europe or North America.

Ethnic minority immigrants have “significantly higher” rates of diabetes than long-term Ontario residents, says a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

With public health experts already concerned about the diabetes explosion among Canadians, the in-depth study of immigrants concludes policymakers should find ways to aggressively target these groups with specific information on healthy lifestyles and early detection.

“South Asians really stood out, and they’re getting it so young,” said principal author Maria Isabella Creatore, an epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“We found immigrants from South Asia already had higher risks than other immigrants by their 20s and 30s. That points to some serious targeting of young South Asians. If you’re going to have effective prevention programs, we have to target youth,” she said.

School programs on exercise and healthy eating to prevent diabetes might be one example, Creatore added.

Diabetes rates among people from Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa were also high.

The findings, which likely apply to immigrant groups throughout Canada, are the “tip of the iceberg” on the worldwide increase in diabetes, she said.

The study complements new research published by the CMAJ at the same time showing the higher risks diverse ethnic groups face of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular illnesses.

The diabetes study, however had rate access to immigration records through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Personal identifiers were removed, but Creatore’s group was able to use detailed data for individuals.

“Diabetes prevalence is increasing most rapidly in the developing world, which contributes to the majority of immigrants to Canada,” the study says.

About 250,000 people a year immigrate to Canada, and the large numbers are from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Ontario alone has more than one million immigrants, which made it a natural place to conduct the study. It already has an ethnically diverse province, so to see rates like these among immigrants was “particularly striking,” the authors wrote.

Among the general population, diabetes rates are higher among men than women. But the study of immigrants showed the reverse: women were more likely to suffer the disease.

“A higher risk of diabetes, combined with social isolation and barriers to accessing services that many recent immigrant women experience, may raise important health issues for immigrant women and should be of concern to health provides and planners,” the study speculates.

An unexplained finding was that diabetes risk increases – rather than decreases - among immigrants the longer they stay. The authors theorize that this is because immigrants pick up unhealthy behaviour such as “a westernized diet” and suffer “acculturation stress” along with a decline in their social and economic status because they are newcomers.

More than three-million Canadians suffer diabetes. If not properly treated, it can lead to serious problems such as heart and kidney disease, eye problems and nerve damage.

Creatore said one of the main messages is that diabetes can be prevented.

“Understanding who the high risk groups are, and when the risk factors appear, I think that’s very important,” she said.

But she noted, it will be “a challenge to access immigrant communities, to be able to get into these communities and educate and design effective prevention programs.”

Monday, 19 April 2010

Reverse Diabetes

Reverse Diabetes in Three Easy Steps

Diabetes is a condition in which body is unable to effectively utilize glucose for its energy needs. As a result glucose levels rise in the blood and extra glucose is expelled in the urine. Diabetes was once thought to be irreversible. Today almost every one of us knows someone who has diabetes.Two of the main contributing factor to this rapid increase are sedentary lifestyle and peoples tendency of dining out.

If you have any of the following you are at risk of developing diabetes,family history of diabetes, overweight, low HDL ( less than 35 ) and High LDL (more than 250), high blood pressure. Women who have gestational diabetes or have a history of delivering large babies( weighing 9 pounds or more) are also at a an increased risk of developing diabetes.

How to Reverse Diabetes

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely reversible.

Research studies have shown that a change in lifestyle such as:

Comprising exercise Proper Diet and Weight loss

can not only reduce this risk by 50 percent, but also significantly delay the onset of diabetes. I have reversed my diabetes and so you can also. Hence by managing weight, eating a proper and healthy diet, most important exercise can help you in reversing/ preventing the diabetes. One should also have blood sugar levels checked at least once a year to detect presence of diabetes at an early stage because diabetes early diagnosed can be easily reversed as compared to diabetes diagnosed lately because of the short and long term complications associated with it.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Foot Care Key in Diabetes Patients

Foot care key in diabetes patients

HARTSVILLE - Did you know that more than 40 citizens in Darlington County lost their feet or legs to diabetes in one year? Few things are more important in diabetes than taking care of the feet. The feet are a source of complications and infections, sometimes life-threatening ones.

Diabetes causes problems for the feet in two ways. The circulation is impaired, and the sensation to the feet can be decreased or lost. An ulcer, blister or burn can occur without causing pain, and, by the time the infection is discovered, it can be very serious.

To prevent problems, a person should wash his or her feet daily and inspect them for blisters, sores or other problems. The skin should be dried carefully, and the toenails cut straight across. If corns or calluses need to be trimmed, it is best to have it done by a doctor, podiatrist or nurse.

One should wear comfortable stockings and properly fitting shoes. Each day, check the shoes for any pebbles, protruding nails or other intrusions which may cause pressure on the foot. If the feet feel cold, it is best to wear more stockings and clothes rather than try to warm them by a heater or in hot water. Burns can occur without causing pain and will take weeks to heal.

A person must avoid harmful practices, such as smoking, which will further damage the circulation and delay healing.

Do not wear constricting or seamed stockings or footwear that may cause excessive rubbing or pressure, such as sandals or high-heeled shoes. Walking barefoot may be even worse. Stepping on slivers of sharp objects is sure to cause an infection. Do not even walk barefoot inside the house as carpets hide many hazards.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Diabetes Shock

Diabetes Shock Prompts MP to Urge Tests

National Party list MP Tau Henare is urging middle-aged Maoris to get themselves tested for diabetes after revealing on his Facebook page this week he has been diagnosed with the disease.

Updating Facebook friends on his efforts to give up smoking, Mr Henare said that "was going better then I expected with the aid of Champix and remember I told you all that I had to go for a diabetes test, well that was positive so I've got diabetes, man sometimes you can't win".

Speaking to the Herald shortly after a visit to a diabetes nurse yesterday, an upbeat Mr Henare, who turns 50 this year, said he had been tested for the disease after going to his doctor for "the big Obama medical ... the whole kit and kaboodle".

That had revealed his blood pressure was up, prompting a blood test.

"Everything's okay apart from the diabetes, that's most probably because I like cakes and sweet things.

"You know, the amazing thing is I didn't even know and still don't know what the symptoms of diabetes are. That's why the blood test is so important," he posted on Facebook yesterday.

Like Polynesian and Indian people, Maori are at greater risk of developing diabetes and it is estimated that about 50 per cent of all diabetes sufferers in New Zealand go undiagnosed. The longer the disease is undetected, the greater the likelihood of complications including heart and kidney failure, eye and gum disease, loss of limbs, impotence and depression.

Mr Henare told the Herald he did not know which form of the disease he had been diagnosed with, but he has not been prescribed insulin or other medication yet "and hopefully it stays that way".

"I intend to change my diet and exercise regime and go back and have a recheck in about three or four weeks."

Mr Henare, who posted a recipe for paua cooked in cream on Facebook several days ago, said he would not be removing the prized shellfish from his diet.

"I'm not giving that up for anything, and there's no sugar in it ... I'll maybe have to give up the cream though."

Important to Manage Blood Glucose

Important to Manage Blood Glucose When You Have Pre-diabetes

Fifty-seven million Americans older than age 20 have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diabetes.

Before people develop type 2 diabetes — one of the most costly and serious chronic diseases of our time, the frequency of which is increasing in epidemic proportions — they almost always have pre-diabetes.

Research suggests that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring in people with pre-diabetes.

The good news is studies also show that if you take action to manage your blood glucose when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from developing, as well as health complications from the disease such as damage to and failure of the eyes, nerves and kidneys.

In the Diabetes Prevention Program, a large study of people at risk for diabetes, lifestyle interventions reduced the development of diabetes by 58 percent over three years.

Modifications included eating a low-fat diet, limiting the intake of refined sugars and starches, upping the intake of fruits and vegetables, exercising for 30 minutes most days of the week and losing 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight. For some people with pre-diabetes, intervening early may even return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range.

Left untreated, most cases of pre-diabetes will progress to type 2 diabetes, which begins when the body develops resistance to insulin and can no longer use it properly. Eventually, the body can no longer produce sufficient amounts of insulin to regulate blood sugar.

Experts recommend that people 45 and older have a fasting blood sugar test every three years. Those with additional risk factors should be screened yearly.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes are advanced age; being overweight or obese; having a first-degree relative with the disease; being of Latin American, Native American or African-American descent; living a sedentary life; having high blood pressure or high triglycerides; and having a history of gestational diabetes, polycystic disease or circulatory disease.

The Adult Diabetes Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital diagnoses and treats patients with diabetes and is recognized by The American Diabetes Association for meeting the national standard for diabetes self-management education.

A highly trained team of certified diabetes educators, consisting of advanced practice nurses, registered nurses and dietitians, works with patients' primary physicians or endocrinologists and helps patients plan meals, monitor blood glucose levels, self-administer medications, prevent complications, implement healthy habits and initiate and manage treatment on insulin pump therapy.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Diabetes - Some Myths Disclosed

Diabetes Myths

Like all complicated matters there are certain misunderstandings regarding Diabetes.

Today I want to dispel some myths regarding diabetes.

Here is a list of the questions that I will be discussing:

Can I get diabetes from someone else?

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes

People with diabetes eventually go blind

It’s not safe to drive if you have diabetes

People with diabetes can’t play sport

People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses

People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate

People with diabetes shouldn’t eat bananas or grapes

People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods

Now for some serious myth bashing…

Can I get diabetes from someone else?

Although we don’t know exactly why some people get diabetes, we know that diabetes is not contagious - You cannot get it from others. There is a chance that a person whose parents or brothers and sisters have diabetes might get diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes. But lifestyle factors also play a part.

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. Diabetes is caused by a combination of inherited and lifestyle factors. However, eating a diet high in fat and sugar can cause you to become overweight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, so if you have a history of diabetes in your family, a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended to control your weight.

Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes.

There is no such thing as mild or borderline diabetes. All diabetes is equally serious, and if not properly controlled can lead to serious complications.

People with diabetes eventually go blind.

Although diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age, research has proved you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes complications - such as damage to your eyes - if you:

• Control your blood pressure and glucose levels

• Keep active

• Maintain your ideal body weight

• Give up smoking

It’s not safe to drive if you have diabetes.

Providing you are responsible and have good control of your diabetes, research shows that people with diabetes are no less safe on the roads than anyone else. Nevertheless, the myth that people with diabetes are not safe persists

People with diabetes can’t play sports.

Pakistan’s famous all-rounder Wasim Akram has diabetes; many other people with diabetes take part in active sports. People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active can help avoid complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease. There may be some considerations to take into account with your diabetes before taking up a new exercise regime - talk to your doctor for more information.

People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

No. You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you’ve got diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu vaccinations. This is because any infection interferes with your blood glucose control, putting you at risk of high blood glucose levels and, for those with Type 1 diabetes, an increased risk of ketoacidosis.

People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

Sweets and chocolate can be eaten by people with diabetes just like the rest of us, if eaten as part of a healthy diet. Remember that confectionery foods tend to be higher in fat and calories too so for this reason they should be limited especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

People with diabetes shouldn’t eat bananas or grapes.

All fruit and vegetables are extremely good for you. Eating more can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers and some gut problems. You should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This also helps to improve the overall balance of the diet. Eating a variety of different fruit and vegetables ensure you get the maximum benefit.

People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Diabetic versions of foods offer no special benefit. They still raise blood glucose levels, contain just as much fat and calories, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect. The healthy diet for people with diabetes is the same as that recommended for everyone - low in fat, salt and sugar, with meals including starchy foods like bread and pasta and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Former Miss America Lives With Diabetes

Ex Miss America lives with diabetes

At age 19, when she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, Nicole Johnson was told she could not have a career or a baby.

The now 36-year-old mother of a 4-year-old daughter and Miss America 1999 said she has a wonderful life, which has flown in the face of everything she was told when she was diagnosed with diabetes as a college student.

“Nothing has to limit you. You can have a wonderful life. You can be a mother. You can be accomplished. You can travel. There are no limits if you are willing to work at it,” Johnson said.

Living with diabetes for Johnson means wearing an insulin pump and a continuous glucose sensor. She pricks her finger four to eight times a day. She watches what she eats and she remains active.

Everything Johnson does relates to diabetes, she said. In addition to school Johnson works at the University of South Florida. She writes for various diabetes publications. She serves on the American Diabetes Association board in Tampa Bay. She utilized her year as Miss America as a voice for those living with diabetes.

Johnson is also a single mother. She was divorced when Ava was a baby and she’s thankful to live close to a very supportive family, she said.

Johnson holds masters degrees in journalism and public health, and she is in the doctoral program in Public Health at USF. She’s doing research on diabetes education in the health community. She’s working on, “reframing how we talk about living with a lifelong illness from how we talk about it to how professionals teach about it,” Johnson said.

How does she balance daily life with a lifelong illness, classes, work, and motherhood?

“Its just tenacity. You get up at 2 a.m. and do whatever you need to do,” she said.

Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is a hormone the body uses to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

About 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Facts About Gestational Diabetes

What You Need To Know About Gestational Diabetes

What causes gestational diabetes?
Changing hormones and weight gain are part of a healthy pregnancy. But both changes make it hard for your body to keep up with its need for a hormone called insulin. When that happens, your body doesn’t get the energy it needs from the food you eat.

What is my risk of gestational diabetes?
To learn your risk for gestational diabetes, check each item that applies to you. Talk with your doctor about your risk at your first prenatal visit.
◦ I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
◦ I am African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander.
◦ I am 25 years old or older.
◦ I am overweight.
◦ I have had gestational diabetes before, or I have given birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
◦ I have been told that I have “pre-diabetes,” a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Other names for it are “impaired glucose tolerance” and “impaired fasting glucose.”
If you checked any of these risk factors, ask your health care team about testing for gestational diabetes.
• You are at high risk if you are very overweight, have had gestational diabetes before, have a strong family history of diabetes, or have glucose in your urine.
• You are at average risk if you checked one or more of the risk factors.
• You are at low risk if you did not check any of the risk factors.

When will I be checked for gestational diabetes?
Your doctor will decide when you need to be checked for diabetes depending on your risk factors.
• If you are at high risk, your blood glucose level may be checked at your first prenatal visit. If your test results are normal, you will be checked again sometime between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy.
• If you have an average risk for gestational diabetes, you will be tested sometime between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
• If you are at low risk, your doctor may decide that you do not need to be checked.

How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
Your health care team will check your blood glucose level. Depending on your risk and your test results, you may have one or more of the following tests.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Health Officials Urge Diabetes Prevention

Health Officials Urge Diabetes Prevention

The Vermont Department of Health is urging the state's residents to take simple actions that can help prevent them from developing diabetes.

Public health officials have seen the prevalence of obesity climb slowly but steadily among middle-aged Vermonters.Early diagnosis is essential to successfully treat and prevent or delay diabetes and complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and amputation.

People at highest risk for diabetes are overweight or inactive.But the department said drastic changes aren't necessary. Making small changes, such as taking a 30-minute walk each day or riding a bike rather than driving can help reduce the risk of diabetes.

Diabetic bracelets

Smaller babies more likely to need diabetic bracelets in later life

While type 2 diabetes is often associated with heavier adults, research suggests that smaller newborn babies are actually more likely to need diabetic bracelets when they grow up.

A particular gene - ADCY5 - has been associated not only with lower birth weight, but also with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes some 50 or 60 years later.

It is one of two genetic areas identified in research conducted by the Wellcome Trust as potentially influencing birth weight and which has also been linked with the development of type 2 diabetes.

While environmental conditions within the womb had previously been associated with the weight of the baby at birth, the genetic effect - and the connection with needing diabetic bracelets five or six decades later - surprised researchers.

One of the research leaders, the University of Oxford's Mark McCarthy, comments: 'It was a surprise to see such strong genetic effects for a characteristic, such as birth weight, which is subject to powerful influences from so many environmental factors.'

In studies of more than 38,000 European participants, those with two 'risk copies' of the gene were seen to be 25 per cent more likely to develop diabetes as adults.

Type 3 Diabetes and Heart Disease

New EMF Dangers - Type 3 Diabetes and Heart Disease

One symptom of electrohypersensitivity is altered sugar metabolism similar to diabetes. In addition to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the first video above shows that some diabetics may be electromagnetically sensitive, as shown by changes in their blood sugar when exposed to electromagnetic triggers.

One astonishing finding showed that in diabetic patients who exercised by walking outdoors, blood sugar went down as expected -- but in those who exercised on a treadmill, impacted by electromagnetic fields, the blood sugar went up.

Dr. Magda Havas suggests there may not just be a type I diabetes and a type II diabetes, but also a new ‘Type III’ Diabetes related to external environmental factors.

EMF and Your Heart

In the second video above, a study has provided unequivocal evidence that the radiation from a cordless (DECT) phone interferes with your heart. This video provides evidence that electrohypersensitivity is real, is physical, and may be life threatening.

It also shows that non-thermal exposure, at levels well below federal guidelines in most countries (0.3 percent of the 1000 microW/cm2), has biological and health effects.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Research to Individualize Diabetes Therapy

Calls for Research to Individualize Diabetes Therapy

Advances in the genetics of type 2 diabetes have provided a foundation for individual treatment strategies, which should be a continuing goal of research, according to a consensus statement from diabetes specialists.

Understanding of the heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes has yet to reach a level that can guide therapy, but by building on existing knowledge, research initiatives can progress toward therapy tailored to the patient, the panel concluded in the April Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

"As we move forward, we should continue to incorporate these and additional clinical observations with new data on the physiology and genetics of diabetes to assess the determinants of glycemic response to treatments in the larger type 2 diabetes mellitus population," Robert J. Smith, MD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and co-authors wrote.

The consensus conference was endorsed by the Endocrine Society and the American Diabetes Association.

Clinicians and scientists have long recognized the heterogeneous nature of type 2 diabetes, but their ability to examine the underlying mechanisms is fairly recent.

Technologic advances have led to the recognition that a variety of clinical, genetic, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors might influence diabetes' development, progression, and response to therapy, the groupo wrote.

Diabetes pathophysiology also exhibits heterogeneity. Contributors to the heterogeneity include multiple pathways that can lead to insulin insufficiency and the abnormalities that precede type 2 diabetes (such as impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance).

"Abundant data support the existence of pathophysiological subgroups within type 2 diabetes mellitus, including evidence that the prevalence of diabetes and its precursor states may vary significantly by gender, ethnicity, and age," the authors wrote.

"In addition, the fact that nearly 25% of all patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus are not insulin resistant at diagnosis strongly supports distinct pathophysiological phenotypes of potentially different therapeutic requirements."

The heterogeneity extends to the genetics and molecular basis of type 2 diabetes, as well.

Insulin secretion and cellular responses to insulin are mediated by a variety of proteins and molecules that scientists have identified over several decades.

Variations in the expression or function of these proteins and molecules "undoubtedly represent important determinants of type 2 diabetes mellitus heterogeneity via effects on beta-cell growth and development, insulin secretion, or changes in insulin responsiveness in specific or multiple tissues," the authors wrote.

Improved genotyping technology and the introduction of genome-wide scanning strategies have helped lead to the identification of more than 20 loci associated with type 2 diabetes, they added.

In fact, more than two dozen disorders involve single-gene alterations that result in abnormal glucose homeostasis that overlaps features of type 2 diabetes.

Existing therapies for type 2 diabetes clearly do not provide similar control in every patient. However, the association between therapeutic response and specific variations in identifiable patient subgroups remains virtually unexplored.

"Currently, the most powerful demonstration of the value of using specific genetic subtypes to individualize therapy comes from identification of monogenic forms of diabetes," the consensus panelists wrote.

"Subgroups of diabetes defined by mutations in specific genes have been shown to be extremely responsive to some glucose-lowering therapies but not to others."

The panel concluded the statement with recommendations aimed at improving understanding of the heterogeneity of diabetes. The recommendations include:

  • Analyze existing data to identify associations between phenotypic and genotypic measures and glycemic control
  • Expand existing diabetes registries and design new ones
  • Develop clinical trials that specifically address heterogeneity of response to therapy
  • Develop more accurate and efficient means to measure biomarkers of type 2 diabetes
  • Expand basic research

Friday, 9 April 2010

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: Behavioral Changes Prevent Complications for Diabetics

Type 2 diabetes (also referred to as “adult onset” or “non-insulin-dependent” diabetes) is condition that greatly benefits from dietary and behavioral changes. In fact, most nutritionists believe the potentially devastating health complications associated with type 2 diabetes can be completely avoided by taking a few simple, proactive steps.

While diet is the number one factor associated with managing diabetes, it is also critical to address the topic of behavior modification. The following tools can used to help diabetics make the appropriate lifestyle adjustments.

Make Slow Dietary Changes to Prevent Overwhelm

Making big, fast changes can result in a backlash effect where the individual feels overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Keep goals small and relatively short term (at least in the beginning). Use of “transition foods” in the diet (selections that are slightly better than the current ones though not quite optimal) is helpful for making slow progress.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Diabetes Drugs Do Not Work

Diabetes Drugs Do Not Work; Diet and Exercise Are Still Best

According to a recent study the latest "magic bullet" drug therapy for diabetes and heart disease does not come close to working as advertised. In fact, researchers found that the combination of the high blood pressure drug valsartan and the anti-diabetes drug nateglinide failed to reduce the risk of heart attack at all and valsartan was only slightly successful in slowing the development of type II diabetes.

Lead researcher Robert M Califf from Duke University School of Medicine stated: "This is a sobering confirmation of the need to continue to focus on lifestyle improvements."

In the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that when compared to a placebo, valsartan and nateglinide failed to statistically reduce the incidence of either extended cardiovascular risk or core cardiovascular risk. The cumulative incidence of diabetes was 33.1% in the valsartan group, as compared with 36.8% in the placebo group.

Type II diabetes is known as a "lifestyle disease" because it is brought on by eating processed foods, junk foods and fast foods. It affects around 150 million people around the world and has become THE lifestyle disease of modern times. According to doctors, the two main risk factors are excess weight and lack of exercise.

Some research has suggested that being overweight, as measured by body mass index (BMI), is the greatest risk factor for diabetes. For example, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston conducted a study on 37,878 women who had no diabetes and found that women who were overweight had their diabetes risk increase by nine times. By comparison, those who were relatively inactive only increased their risk by less than one time. What the study evidently did not measure was the kind of foods that led to being overweight. In other words, was the weight increase from relatively healthy food items or was it due to consumption of unhealthy foods, as was likely?

The bottom line is that the best advice for avoiding diabetes is to have both a healthy diet and a healthy, active lifestyle. A sensible diet to help avoid diabetes would be one that includes plenty of vegetables, especially raw and lightly steamed vegetables, some fruits (though little or no fruit juice because of its high sugar content), fermented whole grains, and getting rid of dangerous trans fats. Other good food items include almonds, apples, oranges, coconut oil, garlic, onions, and substances high in omega three oils (such as olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish oil).

Exercise to keep diabetes at bay need not be strenuous. Moderate exercise such as daily brisk walks and staying active should be plenty for most people, though those that are seriously overweight may want to exercise a bit more and restrict their calories to reduce their weight. Even an easily achievable weight loss of 5% has been shown to have significant health benefits, and for many people that might require little more than regular walking and eliminating sugary sodas.

An often overlooked item in diabetes prevention is the importance of adequate iodine. Iodine is a key element in fighting diabetes because it helps regulate the thyroid and is essential for a healthy liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleens and more. While it is well known that diet, obesity, food allergies, viral infections, and stress are all contributing factors for diabetes, it is less widely recognized that these factors are often either a cause of or caused by a weak liver, spleen, and pancreas.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Expectant Mothers Reduce Diabetes Risk in Newborns

Expectant mothers reduce diabetes risk in newborns by eating more vegetables

Women who eat more vegetables while pregnant significantly reduce their children's risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Linkoping University in Sweden, and published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.

"This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing Type 1 diabetes," researcher Hilde Brekke said. "Nor can this protection be explained by other measured dietary factors or other known risk factors."

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that develops when the immune system produces antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Researchers tested the blood of 6,000 five-year-old children for these antibodies, and compared the results to their mothers' self-reported vegetable intakes during pregnancy.

For the purposes of the study, "vegetables" excluded root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots.

They found children whose mothers had eaten vegetables only three to five times a week while pregnant were 70 percent more likely to have elevated antibody levels than children whose mothers ate vegetables every day. This effect remained after researchers adjusted for other Type 1 diabetes risk factors, such as mother's education level.

"The most frequently consumed vegetables in Sweden during 1996 to 1999 when ABIS pregnancy data were collected were tomatoes, cabbage, onions, lettuce and cucumbers," the researchers said.

A diet high in vegetables has been linked to overall better health and a lower risk of a wide variety of diseases. Some specific components of vegetables, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, have been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

"Recently, flavonoids, the powerful antioxidants, have been suggested to be potentially therapeutic agents for Type 1 diabetes," the researchers said.

An estimated one million people in the United States suffer from Type 1 diabetes, with 13,000 new cases diagnosed in children every year.

Nutrition is key to effective diabetes control

Nutrition is key to effective diabetes control

Diabetes-specific Nutrition, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to managing diabetes is key to the effective control of the disease. This was the central theme of the first-ever regional medical summit aimed at creating awareness among physicians about the importance of diabetes nutrition for management of diabetes, a growing pandemic in the region.

Under the patronage of the Dubai Health Authority, the summit highlighted the introduction of Total Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes, a unique nutrition education program for physicians developed specifically for diabetes, by diabetes nutrition experts.

The summit was facilitated by a panel of regional and international diabetes nutrition experts, and attended by key endocrinologists, internal medicine practitioners and clinical nutritionists. The summit highlighted the sharing of new insights on diabetes nutrition, providing physicians with nutrition management tools and techniques on how they can use nutrition as part of overall diabetes care.

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide affecting, over 200 million people. According to present statistics, one-fifth of the adult populations in the UAE have diabetes, where many have developed diabetes-related complications due to lack of control of their disease.

"Unlike other diseases, the treatment of diabetes is not just about compliance to prescribed treatment medication. It is also about engaging patients in physical activities and providing them with sufficient nutrition. People with diabetes have specific nutritional requirements. Meeting those requirements is a critical part of the treatment and is the essence of the Total Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes," said Dr. Wafaa Ayesh, Director, Clinical Nutrition Department, Clinical Support Sector at the Dubai Health Authority

In type II diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the build-up of sugar in the blood (known as hyperglycemia) can, over time, lead to diabetes complications. Over the long term, poorly controlled hyperglycemia can impair function of the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves, and lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputation, and death.

But people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications. One of the important components of the Total Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes program is the recommendation of clinically proven, diabetes-specific formulas that improve glucose control, lipid profiles, and gut health in people with diabetes. Such formulas come in unique blends of slowly digested carbohydrates and key ingredients scientifically designed to help manage blood sugar spikes, help the body's own insulin work better and meet the nutritional needs of people with diabetes.

Prof. Patrizio Tatti, keynote speaker at the summit and Chairman of Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, National Health Service Reviewer, Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews in Rome, Italy urged people with diabetes to learn more about the benefits of diabetes-specific nutrition, and to incorporate it into the daily management of their disease.

"Food choices can be difficult for individuals with diabetes but by incorporating diabetes-specific nutrition into their daily diets, blood sugar control is more easily achieved. The new insights presented at today's meeting shows diabetes-specific nutrition, when used as part of a diabetes management plan, can help people with diabetes manage their disease better," Prof. Tatti said.

Manage Your Diabetes Daily

Take action every day to manage your diabetes

Diabetes can be controlled. Diabetics can feel a lot better every day when they manage their diabetes well.

Diabetes is a big problem in the Mid-South where too many people are overweight or obese.

Type 1 diabetes (when the body makes little or no insulin) usually is diagnosed in early childhood. Insulin shots replace the missing insulin.

Type 2 diabetes used to be found mostly in adults, but now more children are affected. Weight gain, especially around the abdomen, can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the body either does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin as it should. Diabetes is a big concern because of its complications. Heart attacks and stroke occur when diabetes increases cholesterol, which builds up in your blood and blocks blood vessels. Diabetics are at greater risk for kidney problems.

A healthy lifestyle -- including weight control, a good diet and exercise -- can prevent or slow diabetes. Poor lifestyle behaviors can lead to diabetes. A study showed that up to 30 percent of adults who were 20 or older had a condition called pre-diabetes. As many as 90 percent of pre-diabetics do not know that they have the problem and may become diabetic. Health complications can start with pre-diabetes even before blood sugar tests are high enough for treatment.

What you should do

Manage your diabetes every day. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics need a daily plan. The best way to plan and manage your care is in partnership with your health care provider.

Set goals for better living as a diabetic. Make changes for the better. Do not smoke. Brush your teeth at least twice each day. Floss daily. Get help for any signs of gum disease, like puffy or bleeding gums. Learn ways to prevent health problems that happen more often for diabetics.

Take your prescribed medicine as instructed. Learn how any prescribed medicines and treatments can affect you. A recent study found 25 percent of diabetics must inject themselves with insulin every day. Surprisingly, 57 percent said they occasionally failed to take their shots. Students, Type 2 diabetics, patients with low income, and those who need frequent injections were more likely to skip them. Some skipped shots due to fear of pain or embarrassment.

Learn how to eat. Take a cooking course for diabetics. Get advice from a licensed nutritionist.

Find ways to cope with stress. Stress can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol. Ways to reduce stress are time with friends, exercise, meditation or writing in a journal.

Know what to do if your blood sugar is too high or too low. Teach your family how to help you as well.

Keep both blood sugar and blood pressure normal every day to reduce risks of other problems. Check your numbers regularly. Keep blood pressure below 130/80 and blood sugar (A1c) below 7 percent. In addition to your home testing, get these numbers checked by a health professional every three to six months and more often if you have a control problem.

Aim for a low-density cholesterol of 100 or less, and less than 70 mg/dL if you are at high risk. Total cholesterol should be under 200. Your triglyceride target should be less than 150 mg/dL.

Use a checklist of tests needed at your regular checkups. Get one at stay_healthy.php. Write down any instructions you get at your checkups, and repeat the instructions to make sure you understand them.

Ask your doctor if you should take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease. Get flu and pneumonia shots.

Make sure that your feet are checked at your regular health checkups. A special tool can check feeling in your feet. Check your feet for wounds every day. Diabetic wounds need prompt attention and are often difficult to heal.

Get a kidney function test at least annually. Albumin is the measurement. It should be under 30 mg/24 hours.

Keep your annual appointments. See your eye doctor for a dilated eye exam. See your dentist at least two times a year. Diabetes and high blood sugar make it hard for your mouth to fight germs.

Do not assume you are okay. Get screened for diabetes if you are over 45 and have a body mass index over 25.

Diet and Exercise Beat Drugs for Diabetes Heart Risks

Diet and Exercise Beat Drugs for Diabetes Heart Risks

More than 1 in 10 American adults have diabetes. But the multibillion-dollar blockbuster drugs marketed as treatment for diabetes haven't proved to be so successful against the biggest cause of death related to it: heart disease.

Four new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine are a stark warning to diabetics who rely on drugs to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

One found that using antihypertensives to lower systolic blood does nothing to lower risk of heart complications; another found no benefit to adding a drug to raise HDL ("good") cholesterol. And no heart benefits were associated with two drugs given to lower high blood sugar levels.

Evidence is accumulating that diabetics may not benefit -- and may even be worse off -- when they're treated with a number of diabetes medications. The real take-home message here is that those with diabetes shouldn't forget about the importance of lifestyle factors. Losing excess weight, increasing activity levels, and improving nutrition habits will lead to better control of diabetes and lower risks of heart disease.

A New Way to Diagnose Diabetes ?

A New Way to Diagnose Diabetes?: Hemoglobin A1C Levels Could Soon Be Used

Doctors are moving towards using a different test to diagnose diabetes. Previously, diabetes has been diagnosed by performing an oral glucose tolerance test. This rather drawn-out test involves checking a baseline fasting blood sugar level and then drinking a sugar solution that contains a standard amount of glucose. After two hours, another blood sugar is drawn. If the two hour blood sugar level is over 200 mg/dl, the diagnosis of diabetes is suspected, but can only be made if a second test gives the same results. In some cases, a diagnosis of diabetes can be made based on several fasting blood sugar levels that are above a certain level.

Using Hemoglobin A1C Levels to Diagnose Diabetes

Unfortunately, the oral glucose tolerance test is time consuming and it requires a person to fast for 12 hours, which most people don’t enjoy. The results can also be affected by factors such as recent illness and exercise. For this reason, experts are now recommending that doctors use hemoglobin A1C levels to diagnose diabetes in most patients.

What is Hemoglobin A1C?

Hemoglobin A1C is glycosylated hemoglobin, a compound which is formed when glucose bonds with hemoglobin. Levels of glycosylated hemoglobin can be measured by doing a simple blood test. This test is currently used by doctors to monitor how well a diabetic’s blood sugar levels have been controlled over the prior three month period, but more doctors will be using it in the future to diagnose diabetes because it’s simple and accurate. It also is a better reflection of overall blood sugar status because it gives an idea of blood sugar control over a longer time period.

The Shortcomings of Using Hgb A1C to Diagnose Diabetes

Although a Hgb A1C level is a good test to diagnose diabetes, it may be inaccurate in people who are pregnant and those who have kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, and who take certain medications. In these cases, doctors may use the oral glucose tolerance test to make the diagnosis instead. To diagnose diabetes, the hemoglobin A1C level must be 6.5 percent or higher. A level of 6.5 percent is a level at which complications from diabetes start to develop.

HgB A1C and Diabetes: The Bottom Line?

Will the hemoglobin A1C test replace the oral glucose tolerance test for diagnosing diabetes? It’s likely to be the test of choice in the near future, although there will always be a place for the oral glucose tolerance test in certain situations. People who are concerned about their risk for diabetes should ask their doctor about this test.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Gestational Diabetes: A Potentially Dangerous Condition for Expecting Mothers

Gestational Diabetes: A Potentially Dangerous Condition for Expecting Mothers

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop in an otherwise healthy female during pregnancy. During pregnancy, many tests are administered to check for various conditions and one such test checks for gestational diabetes during the third trimester of pregnancy. When blood glucose levels, or blood sugar levels, are higher than normal, the physician will diagnose the expecting mother with this condition.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes

A woman's body undergoes many hormonal changes throughout pregnancy, and these pregnancy hormones affect many body systems. As a result, almost all women have some degree of glucose intolerance producing slightly higher than normal blood glucose levels. This usually isn't a cause for concern in the early stages of pregnancy, however, this puts the expecting mother at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes in the third trimester of her pregnancy.

Throughout the pregnancy, the placenta makes increased levels of hormones to ensure adequate amounts of nutrients are absorbed from the mother to the developing fetus. These extra hormones inadvertently cause blood glucose levels to rise to sometimes dangerous levels. The pancreas, which is responsible for producing extra insulin when blood glucose levels are high, then starts producing extra insulin to counteract the higher blood glucose levels. The pancreas is sometimes unable to meet the extra demand, and the mother will then develop gestational diabetes.

Why is Gestational Diabetes Dangerous

During early pregnancies high glucose levels can affect the developing baby, causing birth defects and an increased rate of miscarriage. The majority of birth defects caused from high glucose levels occur in the major organs such as the brain and the heart.

During mid to late pregnancy, absorption of excess glucose by the baby may cause nutritional problems and excessive growth. A baby who is larger than normal may suffer injuries from vaginal deliveries and emergency cesarean sections may be necessary.

Babies which are born to mothers who have gestational diabetes may have health complications after birth. During their development, they received excess amounts of glucose. After birth, the baby will not receive the high levels of glucose that it had during pregnancy, resulting in hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia occurs when the baby's pancreas continues to produce extra amounts of insulin to combat high glucose levels, therefore causing blood glucose levels to drop to dangerously low levels. Low glucose levels in the new baby can cause brain damage as glucose is the "food" that is required for normal brain function.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

There are several risk factors fro women who are or may become pregnant that contribute to the development of gestational diabetes. Any risk factors should be discussed with a physician, ideally before pregnancy occurs. A physician will be able to make recommendations and prescribe safe treatments to reduce the chance of developing this condition during pregnancy.

Women who have high blood glucose levels before pregnancy, sometimes termed as pre-diabetes, are at a much higher risk of developing gestational diabetes once pregnant. Additionally, women who have experienced gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies are also at a higher risk, as well as those who have a family history of any type of diabetes.

Obesity is a major risk factor in the development of any form of diabetes. If a woman is obese prior to becoming pregnant, her odds of developing diabetes during pregnancy are greatly increased. Also, a history of miscarriage, stillbirth, or a baby who was nine pounds or larger in a previous pregnancy, create an increased risk of gestational diabetes during the current pregnancy.

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

Many women are able to control gestational diabetes through diet and exercise under the close supervision of a physician. Women who have this condition will need to monitor their blood sugars frequently. A physician will provide necessary information per each women's condition pertaining to desired blood glucose levels. Some women will need to administer insulin to keep blood glucose at an acceptable and safe level during pregnancy.

Women with this condition should eat small meals several times throughout the day. They will also need to monitor weight gain and follow specific guidelines from their physician throughout the duration of the pregnancy concerning proper diet and medication regimes. Exercise should only be practiced after obtaining the physician's permission.

After Pregnancy

After the baby is born, most physicians will administer another glucose tolerance test to ensure glucose levels have returned to normal in the mother. Women who have experienced gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing other types of diabetes later in life and will need to maintain proper diet and exercise routines.

If a woman who is diagnosed with gestational diabetes follows all instructions provided from the physician, the mother and her unborn child can still be healthy and suffer no permanent health risks after the pregnancy is over.