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Diabetes Drugs

Diabetes Complications

How Much Omega-3

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. Continue Reading

Diabetes Complications

My Neuropathy

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. Continue Reading

Diabetes Testing

David’s Guide to Getting Our A1C Under 6.0

The A1C test is our best scorecard to show how well we are controlling our diabetes. It measures how much glucose has been sticking to our red blood cells for the previous two or three months. Since our bodies replace each red blood cell with a new one every four months, this test tells us the average of how high our glucose levels have been during the life of the cells.

The experts recommend that we should get our A1C level tested at least twice a year. People who take insulin need to get it about four times a year.

If the test shows that our blood glucose level is high, it means that we have a greater risk of having diabetes problems. Think of the A1C as an early warning system for the insidious complications that we can get down the road when we don’t control our condition.

But what do we mean by a “high” A1C level? Here the experts disagree. Continue Reading

Diabetes Complications

Triglycerides and Neuropathy

Until now our doctors have lacked an effective way to predict who is at the greatest risk of neuropathy. Usually we find out too late — when irreversible nerve damage has already occurred.

Diabetic neuropathy is the most common microvascular complication we have. More than half of all people with diabetes develop neuropathy. It is a complication in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In the past few years the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two drugs — Cymbalta and Lyrica — for managing the pain of diabetic neuropathy. These drug help many of us. But wouldn’t it be a lot better for us if we could prevent diabetic neuropathy?
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Diabetes Complications

Intensive Control Does Work

All over the world people with diabetes are slacking off how well they control their diabetes. Their A1C levels are climbing to 7.0 percent or more, apparently blessed by scientific research.

Researchers designed the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes trial, universally known as ACCORD, hoped to prove that we would have fewer heart attacks and strokes when we able to bring our A1C levels below 6.0 percent. Instead, they were surprised to discover that 257 patients in the intensive-therapy group died, compared with 203 patients in the standard-therapy group. Consequently, they terminated the intensive therapy regime 17 months before the scheduled end of the study.
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Diabetes Medication

Welcoming Welchol

A year ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat type 2 diabetes. But few of us ever heard of it.

Until now. Studies presented at the annual convention of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in Houston on Friday finally caught our attention.

The senior author of one of those studies spoke at length with me at the convention. Yehuda Handelsman, an endocrinologist in private practice in Tarzana, California, led a 16-week multi-center international study comparing how well Welchol (colesevelam HCl), Avandia, and Januvia did. In the study they randomized 169 people to evaluate the effects of these three oral diabetes medications on glycemic control and lipid profiles when added to metformin.
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