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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa
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Saturated Fat is Back for People with Diabetes

May 15th, 2014 · 19 Comments

A fundamental pillar of misguided medical dogma fell last week. A massive study has just exposed the belief that saturated fat, the type of fat in dairy products and meat, causes heart disease. It doesn’t.

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But for almost 60 years this fear of saturated fat, unsupported by any good science, has stopped the safest and most effective way we have to manage our diabetes. For the first 13 years after my diabetes diagnosis in 1994 it stopped me from eating low-carb — which requires high-fat for energy — making tight blood sugar control and weight management impossible without drugs.

This fear is probably also the basis for the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity that plagues the modern world. Until now the medical establishment has pushed us to eat “whole grains” and other high glycemic carbohydrates that make preventing and managing our diabetes so tough and contributes so much to our collective gain in weight.

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→ 19 CommentsPosted in: Food

Sleep More, Weigh Less for Diabetes Control

May 14th, 2014 · No Comments

The twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity might be connected with our increasing sleep deprivation. But how?

A professor at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and her colleagues determined to find if they might be related. Ruth Patterson, Ph.D., led a unique study that just came out and finally offered some tested answers.

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Diabetes Help on the Internet

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Recently a fellow passenger asked me what I missed most about home. We were on a small ship and were out of contact with the rest of the world.

I realized that besides missing my friends and my usual food and drink, being able to use the Internet was what I wanted most. In fact, just as my shipmate asked that question, a devastating rainstorm had hit my hometown. I didn’t learn about it until the end of the week, when I could check my email and found messages from several friends.

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→ No CommentsPosted in: Basics, Psychosocial

The Safety of Diabetes Drugs

April 6th, 2014 · No Comments

A possible connection between one of our newest and most important classes of diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer has frightened many of us. But people with diabetes can now breathe easier.

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The United States Food and Drug Administration and its European counterpart just released their joint findings concluding that these drugs, which include Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon, and Januvia, have “no compelling evidence of an increased risk of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.” The full-text of this report, “Pancreatic Safety of Incretin-Based Drugs — FDA and EMA Assessment,” is available free online in one of our most prestigious medical journals, The New England Journal of Medicine.

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→ No CommentsPosted in: Medication

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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→ 1 CommentPosted in: Complications

Why We Take Which Diabetes Drug

March 22nd, 2014 · 2 Comments

Although I have managed my diabetes by eating low-carb ever since 2007 and enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who has diabetes, I certainly recognize its limitations and the importance of diabetes drugs.

Low-carbing isn’t easy. The transition from fueling our bodies with carbs to one of burning fat can challenge us in seven ways as I wrote here last month. Even then, when we get through the transition period, many people find that sticking with it can take too much discipline, particularly when family members all too willingly share their bagels and bread.

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→ 2 CommentsPosted in: Medication

Prepare to See Your Diabetes Doctor

March 15th, 2014 · No Comments

When we learn how to manage diabetes without drugs, we rarely need to see an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in diabetes and the rest of the endocrine system.

I haven’t had an appointment with an endocrinologist in more than 10 years. I do have regular checkups that we all need with an opthamologist, a dermatologist, a podiatrist, and a dentist. I also go to my primary care physician at least once a year to get an annual physical examination and to help me manage my other chronic medical condition, hypothyroidism.

Not all of us who have diabetes need to see an endocrinologist, but certainly some of us do. All children with diabetes need a pediatric endocrinologist, and other people will benefit from a referral to an endocrinologist in eight different situations. My friend and colleague at HealthCentral, Dr. William Quick, suggests “When to Go to an Endocrinologist.” He is both an endocrinologist and someone who himself has diabetes.

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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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Help Arrives for Diabetes Supplements

March 1st, 2014 · 3 Comments

Most of us take some supplements every day. But few of us have any idea what we are taking.

Help has begun to arrive.

Shopping for Supplements

Sixty-eight percent of American adults take nutritional or dietary supplements, according to a 2012 customer survey by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. I’m sure that the proportion is even higher among those of us who have diabetes.

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→ 3 CommentsPosted in: Testing

Why and How to Track Diabetes Health

February 23rd, 2014 · 2 Comments

Most people who have diabetes track their blood sugar levels. Lots of us also track our weight, what we eat, and our exercise. But not many of us do anything useful with these numbers.

If we want to improve any of them, just writing them down and studying them will get us part of the way there. That’s because of the observer effect where simply observing something changes what we see.

Tracking Bears and Tracking Diabetes Have Lots in Common

But only when we act in response to our health tracking, does it began to be worth the effort. People with diabetes who don’t use insulin are wasting their time and money when they test their blood sugar, according to a study by the Cochrane Collaboration, the most respected group that reviews scientific studies. Two years ago I wrote about and linked that study in my post, “The Trouble with Glucose Testing.” The problem is that our medical professionals don’t usually teach us what our blood sugar levels should be and how to get there.

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→ 2 CommentsPosted in: Testing