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

The Most Accurate Blood Glucose Meter

March 16th, 2016 · 27 Comments

Credit: Accu-chek.com

The Accu-Chek Aviva was first in an evaluation of a dozen meters conducted by a team of testing experts at Germany’s University of Ulm led by Guido Freckmann, M.D. It led the field in accuracy and precision.

Few studies of meter accuracy have appeared in the more than 20 years that I have been writing about diabetes. Dr. Freckmann and his team of researchers have been the most relevant, reliable, and prolific in testing our meters. But some of the meters that they evaluated aren’t available in the United States.

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Start Taking Insulin Now

March 14th, 2016 · 11 Comments

You can avoid the worst consequences of diabetes if you take insulin soon after a doctor tells you that you have the disease, recent studies show. You can even drive your diabetes into remission and preserve the beta cell function of your pancreas that you otherwise could lose. When your beta cells don’t work well, it’s even harder to manage your diabetes.

While everyone who has type 1 diabetes has to take insulin, of course, only one-fourth of people with type 2 diabetes do so far, usually after years of failure on oral diabetes drugs. After you have tried one of them after another, and your blood glucose is still too high, people may have to go on insulin, although usually with reluctance. You still hear people with diabetes telling you with pride, “I don’t have to take insulin.”

Shape Up

Even worse is that some doctors even use it as a threat, saying something like, “If you don’t shape up, I’m going to make you inject insulin.” But by that time most of the beta cells of your pancreas that store and release your own body’s insulin into the bloodstream have also failed.

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How You Can Lose Weight When You Take a Non-insulin Injectable

March 11th, 2016 · 7 Comments

Credit: NDEI.org

You will probably gain weight when you take most diabetes medicines to help you manage your blood glucose level. This in turn makes your diabetes harder to manage. But one relatively new class of diabetes medicine will often help you to lose weight.

Most people who have diabetes need to lose weight. More than 85 percent of adults with diabetes were overweight in the U.S. government’s Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And 54.8 percent of the adults with diabetes were obese.

The shining exception to this sad story is a relatively new type or class of drugs that helps those of us who have type 2 diabetes to reduce our blood glucose level and at the same time also helps us to lose weight. These drugs have the technical name “glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists.” Because this is a mouthful, we often call them GLP-1 agonists or incretin mimetics.

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Stop Walking the 10,000 Steps!

March 10th, 2016 · 11 Comments

Credit: pedometersaustralia-blog.com

It’s a myth that we should walk 10,000 steps every day. Yet walking is the easiest and best physical activity for almost all of us who have diabetes. More is almost certainly better.

Do you know why and when the 10,000 figure originated? Way back in the 1960s a Japanese company was trying to sell pedometers. Some really smart people came up with that number for its extremely successful marketing campaign.

This advertisement didn’t have its roots in research, and my search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine didn’t turn up any scientific basis for it. While some studies have used the 10,000 step figure as a benchmark in the past few years, they are taking it for granted rather than as a fact.

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Take Zinc If Your Diabetes Is High

February 27th, 2016 · 10 Comments

If you are healthy, you may not need to take a zinc supplement. But if your health isn’t good enough, a new meta-analysis indicates that you probably need to take one. The study categorizes people with type 2 diabetes as “non-healthy.”

zinc (1)

The mineral zinc plays an important role in how our bodies use insulin and in the metabolism of carbohydrates. When non-healthy people take a zinc supplement, the new study found that they can “significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.”

An earlier meta-analysis focused entirely on people with diabetes. It found that zinc helps us manage both our blood glucose and lipids better.

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Walk Away Your Diabetes

February 26th, 2016 · 2 Comments

Walking significantly decreases our blood glucose level, according to a recent meta-analysis. This analysis of 18 studies involving 20 randomized clinical trials including 866 people with type 2 diabetes found that on average it cuts the typical A1C level from the equivalent of  6.5 to 6.0.

walk

This is especially good news for us because walking is “the activity of choice” for people with diabetes. This has long been the way that about half of us get our exercise, according to a nationwide survey.

Do it your way

It can be performed at a variety of speeds with different intensities. I prefer to do my walking slowly on long hikes in nature, but even walking through a mall helps a lot.
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Full-fat Dairy Helps You Avoid Prediabetes and Diabetes

February 17th, 2016 · 5 Comments

The official Dietary Guidelines still advise us to limit the amount of saturated fat that we eat. But a large study of more than 15,000 adults published a few days ago concluded that when people eat a lot of full-fat dairy foods they are less likely to get the metabolic syndrome.

llowfat

The metabolic syndrome is a group of five risk factors that can increase your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. One of these five risk factors is insulin resistance, which usually leads to prediabetes and on to diabetes. You can reverse prediabetes, but there is no cure for diabetes.

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Don’t Let the Sugar Label Confuse You

February 16th, 2016 · Comments Off

We need to “consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.” This is a key recommendation of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which the U.S. government released on January 7.

sugarlabel

But previous versions of the guidelines didn’t set a specific goal. And the Nutrition Facts labels that we have now on all of our packaged foods are confusing because they still don’t separate added sugars from those that occur naturally.

For those of us who have prediabetes or diabetes, the added sugars are a special concern, and these new Dietary Guidelines recognize it. The guidelines include a statement that we have some evidence that indicates eating less added sugar is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

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Take Metformin If You Have Prediabetes

February 15th, 2016 · 4 Comments

Do you have prediabetes? You might be able to ward it off with the help of one of the diabetes drugs.

metformin

Metformin might stop you from getting diabetes and could also help you in other ways. But persuading your doctor to prescribe it could be a challenge.

The biggest and perhaps the best study of people who have prediabetes showed that taking metformin cuts the risk of diabetes by 31 percent. While this was less than the reduction of 58 percent that the “lifestyle intervention” provided, in real life we usually aren’t able to get that much guidance from our medical team.

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Prediabetes Can Be Your Wake-up Call

February 14th, 2016 · 2 Comments

Even if you have prediabetes you have a good chance of preventing type 2 diabetes. That’s the good news from five big research studies from around the world. But the studies also show that perhaps up to 70 percent of the people who have prediabetes will get type 2 diabetes, which no one can cure.

CDCPCredit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If you know that you have prediabetes, you can think of yourself as being especially lucky. You can take your diagnosis as a wake-up call. Or, as the Certified Diabetes Educator Susan Semb calls it in the subtitle of her book Prediabetes, it is “an opportunity.”

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