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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Complications'

Low Carbs Cut Diabetes Inflammation

July 6th, 2014 · No Comments

We already knew that diabetes and inflammation often go together. But now a study by researchers in Sweden shows us how to reduce our level of inflammation and bring down our blood sugar level as well.

Localized inflammation, like that caused by periodontal infection, is susceptible to localized treatment. But generalized, or systemic, inflammation can also bedevil those of us who have diabetes. The new study addresses this previously intractable problem.

“To simplify somewhat,” writes Dr. Richard K. Bernstein in Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, “inheritance plus inflammation plus fat in the blood feeding the liver causes insulin resistance, which causes elevated serum insulin levels, which cause the fat cells to build even more abdominal fat, which raises triglycerides in the liver’s blood supply and enhances inflammation, which causes insulin levels to increase because of increased resistance to insulin.” Does this sound like a vicious cycle to you too?

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Managing Erectile Dysfunction with Diabetes

March 27th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Of the many possible complications of uncontrolled diabetes, erectile dysfunction is the one we talk about the least. Unlike essentially all of the other complications, it doesn’t bring us physical pain, but the emotional trauma it often brings can be devastating.

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It doesn’t have to be that way. If you were the only guy who had erectile dysfunction, having it might well embarrass you. But now we know that perhaps 30 million American men have it and that it increases with age. “About 4 percent of men in their 50s and nearly 17 percent of men in their 60s experience a total inability to achieve an erection,” according to estimates by the National Institutes of Health. “The incidence jumps to 47 percent for men older than 75.”

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Drugs or Blood Sugar Control for Diabetic Neuropathy

March 8th, 2014 · No Comments

Is managing diabetic neuropathy so difficult that we need more drugs? Some, but not all, of our diabetes professionals say that it is.

“We have no licensed treatment for diabetic neuropathy,” Rayaz A. Malik, professor of medicine at the University of Manchester, in December told the World Congress of the International Diabetes Federation World. “We have witnessed failure after failure of numerous clinical trials despite great experimental data. None of these drugs has been translated into therapies that we can prescribe to our patients.”

He explained that the treatments we have for neuropathy offer only symptomatic relief. He says that at best only half of the people with diabetic neuropathy get just 50 percent pain relief. And the drugs we have don’t reverse the nerve damage that causes the pain.

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Twin Diabetes Highs: Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

February 14th, 2014 · No Comments

In December, a panel of experts released new guidelines regarding when people over 60 should take drugs to reduce their blood pressure. But the guidelines for those of us with diabetes remain the same.

The panel of 17 academics reported its findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, after reviewing data from the last five years. The full text of its report, “2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults,” is free online. It concluded that people over 60 need to keep their blood pressure below 150/90, rather than the 140/90 level previously recommended.

The guideline for people with diabetes remains at 140/90, meaning a systolic blood pressure of no more than 140 and a diastolic pressure of less than 90. The systolic pressure reflects the pressure on our blood vessels when our hearts contract, while the diastolic number reflects the pressure when our heart relaxes between beats.

This is actually less stringent than some experts had previously recommended. Many doctors tell those of us with diabetes to keep our blood pressure at a level no higher than 120/80.  And if we don’t, they will tell us to take our medicine, usually angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

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The Dawn Phenomenon: A Diabetes Puzzle Solved

February 13th, 2014 · 15 Comments

The dawn phenomenon is one of the most disturbing challenges for those of us who have diabetes. Many of us wonder about the puzzle of why our blood sugar level spontaneously rises during the last hours of sleep each night.

This has also mystified our doctors and medical researchers, so much that they have published at least 187 articles in the professional literature during the past three decades since the first study of the subject appeared. But four new studies by European researchers just published in American professional journals have shown a bright light that clarifies the major questions we have had about the dawn phenomenon. We now know who gets it, how bad it is, how much it impacts our A1C levels, and how to prevent it.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes you are likely to have the dawn phenomenon. However, dawn levels among people who don’t have diabetes rise only slightly, if at all, “because they secrete insulin to prevent it,” according Francesca Porcellati, MD, and her associates at Italy’s University of Perugia. Their study, “Thirty Years of Research on the Dawn Phenomenon: Lessons to Optimize Blood Glucose Control in Diabetes,” appears in the December 2013 issue of Diabetes Care, a professional journal of the American Diabetes Association. The full-text of this study is free online.

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The First Step to Take for Managing Blood Sugar

August 19th, 2013 · No Comments

The usual ways we have to bring our blood sugar levels down to normal work well. But they may not be the best means for about half of us who have diabetes and pre-diabetes.

The usual ways are diet, exercise, and reducing stress. These are the cornerstones of diabetes management, but anyone who has sleep apnea has to do more.

A great many of us who have diabetes also have sleep apnea, and a new study indicates that when we start to manage sleep apnea, we manage our diabetes better at the same time.

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Why People with Diabetes Need to Avoid Statins

June 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

Those of us who have diabetes have enough to be concerned about for me to be writing here about all those things that don’t help us. You won’t find me writing about any of those many supplements and miracle cures that won’t do anything for you except separate yourself from your money. You don’t need me to tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Have you noticed that whenever you encounter a problem, the act of dealing with that problem can create more problems, unless you are especially careful? Those of us who have diabetes need to be especially careful of the drugs that our doctors prescribe, because any drug carries with it unwanted side effects.

Even the type of drug that more Americans and people around the world take has a long list of side effects. Statins, a class of drugs that lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), are commonly prescribed to people with diabetes and pre-diabetes when our lifestyle changes don’t achieve the LDL targets that our doctors like.

About 32 million Americans take a statin. One-fourth of us 45 and over do. One of the statins, Lipitor, is the all-time biggest selling prescription medicine in the history of the world with sales of more than $130 billion.

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Posted in: Diabetes Complications, Diabetes Medication

Solving the Problem of Treating Diabetic Neuropathy

June 16th, 2013 · No Comments

Being able to walk is something that all of us who have diabetes take for granted, at least until something makes it hard to do or even impossible. That something is often neuropathy, probably the most common complication of diabetes. But new treatments can prevent serious problems.

About 12 percent of us have neuropathy when we learn that we have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at The Prevention and Treatment of Complications of Diabetes Mellitus. This U.S. government organization goes on to say that about 60 percent of us will have neuropathy after 25 years of living with diabetes.

The good news is that neuropathy isn’t inevitable, and the way to prevent it is clear, although not always easy. That way is to keep our blood sugar level normal, especially when our body gives us a warning.

That warning is often a foot ulcer. That was the way a friend of mine, Wayne Coggins, learned that he had diabetes. When I asked Wayne how he would describe himself, he replied, “I am pastor, counselor, and author … and newly discovered diabetic.” He founded Cornerstone Family Ministries in Kenai, Alaska, and wrote Adventures of an Alaskan Preacher.

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Cholesterol Myths

December 25th, 2012 · 2 Comments

The cholesterol issue is at the heart of every dietary recommendation for the past 30 years, says Dr. Jonny Bowden. “When you think about it — and I have thought about it — it has influenced everything we have been taught about what to eat and what not to eat.”

Together with Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a board certified cardiologist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, they wrote a new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, which Fair Winds Press published on November 1. Alternatively, you can get a Kindle edition, which is what the publisher sent me for review.

Dr. Bowden has a Ph.D. in nutrition and is the author of 10 books with some of the soundest advice on what to eat that I have ever read. His book Living Low Carb is one of the very best books on the lifestyle that I follow and recommend. My only regret is that I failed to discover it when it came out, so I haven’t reviewed it. Dr. Bowden tells me, however, that a revised edition is in the works, and I will certainly review it as soon as I get my hands on it.

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A New Treatment for Neuropathy Pain

December 13th, 2012 · No Comments

If we’re lucky, we will get diabetic neuropathy in our lifetimes. Nearly 60 percent of people with diabetes in America have it after a quarter of a century.

Neuropathy may be the most common complication of diabetes and can make walking difficult as well as leading to even more serious problems like losing a limb. Diabetic neuropathy is damage caused to the nerves, and it can result in numbness, tingling, burning, and pain. Until now the painkillers that we could use don’t work well for everyone.

Now, however, a study from the University of Calgary shows evidence supporting a new drug therapy to treat diabetic neuropathy. The drug is called nabilone.

“My pain was so severe that I could barely walk a block,” says Leslie Bonenfant, who has type 2 diabetes and participated in the study. “After taking nabilone, I can manage my pain and I can function day to day,” she says.

Leslie Bonenfant (left) during a medical exam with Dr. Cory Toth

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Posted in: Diabetes Complications

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