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

Entries Tagged as 'Diabetes Complications'

Incompatible Kidney Transplants Offer Survival Benefits

April 16th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Credit: Tareq Salahuddin

Kidney failure is one of the most devastating complications of uncontrolled diabetes. A kidney transplant is the best hope for long-term survival, but finding a compatible donor is almost impossible for some people whose kidneys have failed.

Now, a study that experts have described as “revolutionary” shows that a transplant from an incompatible donor saves many lives. Just last week The New England Journal of Medicine published a long-term study of more than 1,000 transplants of incompatible kidneys that were performed in the past few years at 22 centers. While only the abstract of the study is online, the lead author Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery at the Hopkins School of Medicine, sent me the full text upon my request.

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When You Control Your Diabetes, You Aren’t at Risk for Dementia

October 26th, 2015 · 2 Comments

One of the largest studies of the connection between diabetes and dementia has just confirmed what we have suspected for several years. There isn’t one.

But high blood glucose levels are connected to dementia, according to a new study of 353,214 people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers reported that people with type 2 diabetes who had A1C levels of 10.5 percent or higher were 50 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia than those with levels of 6.5 percent or less. The higher the A1C level the greater the risk of dementia.

Hypoglycemia is also connected with dementia, according to studies. A recent meta-analysis in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism shows a bi-directional relationship between cognitive impairment and hypoglycemia in older people who have diabetes. Another new study, a population-based study in Canada reported in Diabetes Care, found that preexisting vascular disease and severe hypoglycemia were the greatest risk factors for dementia in seniors with diabetes.

Glucose Meter

Aidin Rawshani, M.D., of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, and his colleagues identified everyone with type 2 diabetes who was registered in the Swedish National Diabetes Registry between 2003 and 2012 and who did not have dementia at enrollment. Their observational study adjusted for factors such as age, gender, and weight.

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Take Charge of Your Foot Health with This Kit

September 15th, 2015 · 1 Comment

You can’t feel it when you lose the ability to feel your feet. When I put it this way, it sounds obvious. But, A study of 1,100 people with diabetes aged 61 or more found that more than 90 percent of them were unaware of it.

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When you lose feeling in your feet, you have neuropathy, the most common complication of diabetes. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse says that between 60 and 70 percent of us have a form of it.

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Should You Use Hyperbaric Oxygen to Cure Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

July 31st, 2015 · 3 Comments

We seem to have been successful in using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for more than 40 years. Yet we still don’t know if it works and for what conditions.

Many of our doctors use it to cure chronic diabetic foot ulcers that otherwise could lead to amputation. Since these ulcers are a common complication of diabetes, and when you lose a foot your life will be so seriously impacted, this therapy, known as HBOT, is something we need to carefully consider.

I have been convinced that the use of hyperbaric oxygen might offer many benefits ever since I visited an 82-year-old man named John Erb in Costa Rica two years ago. He is an expatriate American who took me inside his hyperbaric oxygen chamber and showed me to what he attributes his strength. I took the photo below, as I wrote in my photo essay “Rancho Naturalista,” the fantastic ecolodge that he owns.

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Vitamin D Relieves the Pain of Peripheral Neuropathy

May 22nd, 2015 · 9 Comments

Your painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy can mean that you have a low level of vitamin D. But when you get enough vitamin D3, you might feel a lot better.

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If you have had diabetes for a few years, you probably have neuropathy, because this is perhaps the most common complication of diabetes, striking more than half of us. You probably know if you have it, either from chronic pain or because a doctor told you.

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Reversing Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

December 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

The drugs that are approved to reduce the pain of diabetic peripheral neuropathy are expensive. But your doctor can prescribe much less costly drugs that might save you thousands of dollars and may work equally well.

No drugs do anything more than cut the pain. To reverse the neuropathy, you have to act.

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Dental Infections Are Trouble for Diabetes

December 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments

If you have a dental infection and diabetes, you can never get your blood sugar stabilized.  I know this from my personal experience and from listening to Richard K. Bernstein, M.D.

Any infection will wreck havoc with our blood sugar management. But dental infections may be some of the most common infections. They can also be insidious, as I know all too well.

The typical dental infection is probably gum disease, which our dentists call periodontal disease. But root canal infections, known as endodontic or endodontal infections, can go undetected even by the best dentists. I know, because my dentist didn’t find mine for about a year.

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Diabetes and Hypothyroidism: Partners in Ill Health

December 7th, 2014 · No Comments

What’s wrong with you if you have diabetes along with mood fluctuations, if you are anxious, if you often get angry, and if you have a poor memory? Are you just a bad person?

Did you even consider that you might have an underactive thyroid gland? Lots of people have this condition, which doctors call hypothyroidism. And even a greater proportion of people with diabetes have it. I’m one of them.

Few doctors ever check us to see if our thyroid gland is working properly. Even fewer treat it because of inconsistent standards regarding what a healthy thyroid is.


Dr. Kesavadev (right) and Me (Photo by Gopika Krishnan)

But one doctor who runs a large diabetes clinic has been concerned for years about hypothyroidism among his patients. I met him three years ago in San Diego at the Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.  He is Jothydev Kesavadev, M.D., of Jothydev’s Diabetes and Research Center in Trivandrum, India, which is also known as Thiruvananthapuram and is the capital of the state of Kerala located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the country.

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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 · 2 Comments

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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