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

Entries Tagged as 'Complications'

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Two Easy Ways to Control Blood Pressure

October 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

High blood pressure is part of the metabolic syndrome. This means that almost all of us who have diabetes also have high blood pressure.

We have lots of ways to help us control our blood pressure, including pills. But if you, like me, prefer to avoid taking prescription medicine, researchers have now discovered two ways that seem much better.

The researchers reported their findings Thursday at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago. Formal papers will probably follow.

One study shows that younger women tripled their risk of having high blood pressure later in life when their levels of vitamin D were low. Those who were deficient in vitamin D — that is with less than 80 nanomoles per liter of blood — when the Michigan Bone Health and Metabolism Study measured it for 559 women in 1993 were more likely to have high blood pressure when researchers followed up with them 15 years later. Even adjusting for the effects of age, obesity, and smoking, the women who had been deficient in vitamin D at the start of the study were three times more likely to have high blood pressure in 2008. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications

How Much Omega-3

October 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Considering all the supplements that most of us take, we have surprisingly little evidence that the overwhelming majority of them do anything for us. The two biggest exceptions are vitamin D and omega-3 oil, which I have written about here.

Even with these well-tested supplements, the experts have little advice to give us. Now, however, a team of scientists from the University of Lyon in France just reported on how much of one type of omega-3 oil to take so that we can prevent heart attacks and strokes, the major complication of diabetes. This is the first study to identify how much omega-3 oil we need to promote optimal heart health.

They studied DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, which some studies suggest have more potent and beneficial effects than the other omega-3 oil that we usually take, EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, according to their research communication in September issue of The FASEB Journal,  which the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology publishes.

Only the abstract of the study is online. But one of the study’s authors, Evelyne Véricel, was kind enough to send me the full text. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications

Worse Cholesterol Than LDL

October 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Preliminary research seems to show that a little known type of cholesterol might be the biggest threat to our heart health, the most severe complication of diabetes. Even worse than LDL cholesterol is something called oxycholesterol.

The 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society heard study leader Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., of the Chinese University of Hong Kong point out the problems with oxycholesterol. We can expect published research to follow, but the chemical society’s Michael Bernstein tells me that, “There is no formal published paper connected to this study.”

Dr. Chen told the chemical society which foods have the highest levels of oxycholesterol. Fried and processed food — particularly fast-food — contains high amounts of oxycholesterol, he says. Avoiding them and eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants can reduce our levels of this really bad cholesterol.

Dr. Chen’s research team measured the effects of a diet high in oxycholesterol on hamsters, which scientists often substitute for humans in in cholesterol research. Cholesterol in the blood of the hamsters fed oxycholesterol rose up to 22 percent more than hamsters eating non-oxidized cholesterol. The hamsters fed oxycholesterol also had more cholesterol lining their arteries and a tendency to develop larger deposits of cholesterol. These fatty deposits increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications

Vitamin D for the Heart

October 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Those of us who have diabetes and don’t get enough vitamin D can’t process cholesterol normally. It builds up in our blood vessels, increasing our risk of heart attack and stroke.

Now, however, new research has identified how low vitamin D levels link to heart disease risk and a good way to fix the problem. The solution is simply to increase our levels of vitamin D. Researchers already knew that low levels of vitamin D nearly double our risk of cardiovascular disease. Since this is the major complication of diabetes, this research takes on great importance for us.

The American Heart Association’s professional journal Circulation published the study in its August 25 issue. Only the abstract is free online. But the principal investigator, Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D., kindly sent me the full text of the research report. He is an assistant professor of endocrinology, metabolism and lipid research at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications

Exercise May Reduce Belly Fat

October 11th, 2009 · 3 Comments

When we have a lot of belly fat, we are at greater risk of heart disease because of the inflammatory molecules that this fat produces. But a new study by scientists at the University of Illinois suggests that even moderate amounts of exercise can reduce the inflammation.

Since people with diabetes are at an especially high risk of heart disease, this is an encouraging finding for us.

The study examined the effects of diet and exercise on the inflammation of visceral fat tissue — belly fat — in mice. Maybe people will react differently, but only the sedentary mice got the inflammation that usually results from having big bellies.

“The surprise was that the combination of diet and exercise didn’t yield dramatically different and better results than diet or exercise alone,” says Victoria Vieira, a University of Illinois Ph.D. candidate and the study’s lead author. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications, Exercise

Intensive Glucose Control Works

July 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

The American Medical Association today published the results of a large and long study that is good news for anyone who has diabetes. The study shows that intensive control substantially lowers the risk of some serious complications of diabetes.

No surprise that intensive control works. But the surprise is how well it works.

The study followed 1,375 people with type 1 diabetes for 30 years of their diabetes. The complications measured were proliferative retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease. Conventional treatment led half of them to proliferative retinopathy, one-quarter to nephropathy, and 14 percent to cardiovascular disease.

Those in the intensive therapy group has substantially lower rates of these complications — 21 percent, 9 percent, and 9 percent respectively. Fewer than 1 percent became blind, required kidney replacement, or had an amputation because of diabetes during those 30 years. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications

Our Dental Alarm Bell

July 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Dental disease is a wake-up call that your diet is harming your body, concludes Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel. He reviewed the two hypotheses about whether or not dental disease is a warning that we are headed toward chronic system illness. After examining all the evidence, he concludes that it is.

“The five-alarm fire bell of a tooth ache is difficult to ignore,” Dr. Hujoel told me. He is professor of dental public health sciences at the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle.

But we do tend to ignore it.

He lays the blame squarely at the feet of Ancel Keys and his believers. Dr. Keys promulgated the lipid hypothesis and focused on excess fat intake as the primary cause of systemic chronic non-communicable diseases — like diabetes. For Dr. Keys a healthy diet consisted of increasing our intake of “fermentable carbohydrates.” [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications, Food, Testing

A Short Walk Goes a Long Way

July 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We can reverse one of the most common and insidious complications of diabetes when we walk just a little more. From 50 to 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes and 95 percent of those who are obese have fatty liver. But up to 77 percent of people who have fatty liver don’t have any symptoms.

A study that the journal Hepatology just published in its July issue put 141 participants through an exercise program for three months. The participants had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), sometimes called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

If it leads to cirrhosis of the liver, it’s fatal, unless you are lucky enough to get a liver transplant. Liver transplants may be available for people under 70 and my wife was only 69 when her doctor told her that she had cirrhosis. But he also told her that her weight makes a successful transplant unlikely, so two years ago she died from this awful complication of diabetes. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications, Exercise

Our Arteries on Corn Flakes

June 28th, 2009 · No Comments

High glycemic foods make the major blood vessel of our upper arms swell out or expand from internal pressure, according to new research. This brachial artery is the most convenient place that scientists and doctors have to measure how elastic our arteries are.

The elasticity of our arteries anywhere in our body is a measure of our heart health. When the walls of an artery anywhere in our body expand suddenly, this can lead to heart disease or sudden death.

Those of us who have diabetes need to do what we can to keep our arteries healthy. The statistics are shocking: 68 percent of Americans 65 or older die from heart disease, and adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from a heart attack than other Americans. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications, Food

My Neuropathy

June 22nd, 2009 · 20 Comments

A few days ago when I finally was able to see a neurologist for the headaches that started four months ago, the first part of his examination was of my feet. I had heard of referred pain, but this seemed extreme to me, and I told him so.

The doctor replied that he would get to my head. In the meanwhile he gave me a complete examination. He used a tuning fork, similar to what musicians use. I could feel it as he went down my legs. But when he got to each of my feet, I felt nothing.

Then he worked down my legs to my feet with the side of a pin. Again, my feet I had no sensation.

He told me that I had peripheral neuropathy. And I could see it for myself. None of my other doctors had ever told me that before. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Complications