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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa
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When Omega 3 Works for Diabetes

September 29th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The easiest way to protect our hearts is to increase the amount of omega 3 in our diets. Since heart disease is the most serious complication of diabetes, nothing could be more important for us. But it’s not that simple.

A study to be reported in the September 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition shows a surprising connection between omega 3 and physical activity. An observational study of 344 healthy adults living in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, found that those people who had regular physical activity had more omega 3 in their blood — and were therefore at less of a risk of heart disease — than those who didn’t exercise.

We have, of course, known for a long time that diet and exercise are the cornerstones of diabetes management. But until now who could have guessed that that they were so closely linked!


The Best Source of Omega 3

Some earlier studies showed that people who consume the most omega-3s seem to have the least risk of heart disease. But not all studies found this to be true. The authors of the current study examining the connection between omega 3 and physical activity on heart disease risk felt that some of the earlier studies failed to control for interacting factors.

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Safety of Diabetes Drugs

September 13th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Two studies published in professional journals this year have cast renewed doubt about the safety of one of our most important class of diabetes drugs. But the leading regulatory agencies both in Europe and the U.S. seem to think that those studies are flawed.

We call this class of drugs incretin-based or GLP-1 agonists. They include Byetta, Victoza, and Bydureon.

The most recent investigation of this class of drugs came out last month in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care. Dr. Peter Butler of UCLA is the lead author of “A Critical Analysis of the Clinical Use of Incretin-Based Therapies.” It was prompted by a study conducted by Dr. Sonal Singh and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Glucagonlike Peptide 1–Based Therapies and Risk of Hospitalization for Acute Pancreatitis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” That article appeared in JAMA, and both are available online.

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Cutting the Cost of Diabetes

September 7th, 2013 · 5 Comments

The experts tell us that diabetes is the most expensive disease we can get. But it can be the cheapest.

The costs are not just the oral medications and insulin, the blood glucose meters and test strips, and the visits to the doctors. But the financial drain can also include income lost from missing work. And the biggest costs have to be the poorer quality of life that so many of the complications of diabetes can bring in their wake.

So then how can I write that we could be so lucky as to have a disease that costs us practically nothing?

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The Fast Path to Heart Health with Diabetes

August 31st, 2013 · 9 Comments

Almost all of us who have diabetes are too busy to keep our hearts in good shape. At least most of us act as if we were.

When our hearts get out of shape, we aren’t so busy any more. Heart disease is the most common as well as the most serious complication of diabetes.

This combination of lack of time and importance of heart health drive my quest for a quicker way to meet this challenge of living long with diabetes.


Lead Author Arnt Erik Tjønna (left) Tests a Volunteer for his Maximal Oxygen Uptake

A couple of weeks ago I learned the answer when I was in Canada’s Yukon Territory. I was driving to Alaska, where I am enjoying a cool summer. I had my car radio tuned to 105.1 FM from Burwash Landing, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio One station. The speaker was Dr. Brian Goldman.

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Weightism and Diabetesism

August 26th, 2013 · 2 Comments

We all know that those of us who have diabetes, particularly when we are also overweight, have serious health problems to manage. And almost all people with diabetes are overweight.

But we often overlook the social problems that accompany these issues. They can be as serious and can make our physical problems even worse, according to provocative new research.

Discrimination is the root cause of these social problems. Although during the past century our country has made — and continues to make — enormous strides to end overt discrimination, covert discrimination still festers in the hearts of many Americans. We are cleaning up our act, but not our hearts.

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Diabetes Supplements are Drugs Too

August 25th, 2013 · No Comments

Many people with diabetes use supplements to help them manage their blood sugar. They use everything from bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre to cinnamon and fenugreek to help them control their diabetes. And now to judge from the many emails I get, berberine has become the big hope.

Most people who take supplements for blood sugar control do that because they worry about the side effects of prescription medication. The problem is that they imagine that their supplement of choice doesn’t have any side effects.

Any medication that does anything for us also has side effects. Some are obvious, but many others don’t show up until lots of people have used them for years. Then it is too late for the early adopters.

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Easy Steps to Diabetes Control

August 24th, 2013 · 3 Comments

All the things that that we need to do when we learn we have diabetes and want to manage it can seem daunting. Diet, weight loss, exercise, reducing stress and inflammation, and taking pills or insulin can add up to a major headache.

But a brand new study shows that one of these tasks has become much easier. A little exercise can be a big help in bringing down our blood sugar level after a meal.

We have known for years that a brisk walk of half an hour can bring down our sugar level. I well remember when my late wife Catherine asked what she could do when her blood glucose meter showed that her level was above 200 about an hour after dinner. I suggested that we take a brisk walk around the block, and when we got back home and she tested again, her level was almost down to normal.

The difference in her levels before and after that exercise impressed both of us. But the new study shows that we have something that is much better. It’s easy and reduces our sugar level even more.

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Easy Summer Living with Diabetes

August 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

Ah, summertime when the living is easy! Sometimes it can be too easy for those of us who have diabetes.

Rest and relaxation is much of the reason why we love summer so much. We need relief from the stress of work, relationships, and city living. Stress produces cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, and it increases the amount of blood sugar that we have.

But, like anything else, the rest and relaxation can go too far for our own good. When we rest so much that we are lying down or sitting most of the time, our bodies don’t get the activity they need by standing or walking. When we relax so much that we relax our standards of diabetes management, our blood sugar levels can go through the roof.

Summer vacations don’t have to mean eating so much food that we gain weight or eating those foods that we know from our experience will do a number on our levels. Wise eating for those of us who have diabetes is all about delayed gratification.

This means resisting the temptation for an immediate reward and waiting for a later reward. Delayed gratification is connected with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later in life.

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How We Defeated Obesity and Diabetes

August 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

The biggest challenge in managing our diabetes is controlling our weight. But fortunately we have three roads that will take us there.

Cheryl, who is my friend and colleague at HealthCentral, traveled one of these roads. I have traveled the other two. Each of them have been a great trip.

A couple of weeks Cheryl wrote “How I Defeated Obesity and Diabetes” for the obesity area of HealthCentral. Gastric bypass surgery is the road that worked for her.

Since Cheryl knew that I had defeated obesity via other means, she asked me to round out the picture with my experience. Our intention is to provide a comprehensive roadmap of the three ways that we know from our own experience that will work for controlling obesity.

Cheryl has written many posts for HealthCentral about surgical ways to manage weight. I have also written a couple of posts here, more recently at http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/c/17/154007/reverses-bariatric/.

I once considered surgery to manage my weight. But instead I took the  other two routes that are available to those of us who have diabetes.

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Standing Up for Diabetes

August 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Besides eating wisely, what could be the best way to manage diabetes than getting a lot of exercise? For years the experts have been telling us that we need to work out regularly and to get our required dose of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Exercise helps, but just getting off our butts now seems to be even more important. Stand up please!

This is the message of two recent reports in peer-reviewed professional journals. One of them focuses on people with pre-diabetes and other other on those of us who have type 2 diabetes. But the message is appropriate for all of us.

People with pre-diabetes are just like people with diabetes except that they have a choice because they still have enough beta cells in their pancreas. If they manage their condition now, they won’t have to manage diabetes all the rest of their lives.

The study of people with pre-diabetes analyzed 153 people in two earlier studies who had known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. This is the first study that has examined the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on diabetes. The new study, “Associations of objectively measured sedentary behaviour and physical activity with markers of cardiometabolic health,” appears in the May 2013 issue of Diabetologia, the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The full-text is free online.

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