Artificial Sweeteners Assist in Diabetes Control

January 24th, 2011

sugar cubes

Historically, diabetics have been warned to avoid eating sugar, an almost impossible challenge for those with a sweet tooth. Nowadays, the emphasis has shifted to eating complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, and limiting total carbohydrate intake - known as an insulin resistance diet. Diabetics can indulge in the odd sugary treat, but do need to limit their sugar intake more than non-diabetics (especially those who are struggling with diabetes control). Artificial sweeteners provide a convenient way of doing that.

Natural sugars like fructose, honey, corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and cane sugar, are simple carbohydrates that quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Reduced calorie sweeteners like sorbital, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols often used in sugar-free candy, gum and baked goods. They are also a type of carbohydrate and may raise your blood sugar, although not as much as natural sugars. Low calorie sweeteners are artificial sweeteners created in a lab. They don't contain calories, are low or no carb, and do not affect blood glucose levels.

Artificial sweeteners have gotten a bad rap for being "non-natural" and unpleasant tasting over the years, but today's new and improved sweeteners can be a godsend for diabetics who crave sweets. The FDA and the American Diabetes Association both recommend the following low calorie artificial sweeteners as safe for use by non-insulin dependent and insulin dependent diabetics:

1) Aspartame -sold as NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame may lose some sweetness at high temperatures. It's 160 to 220 times sweeter than sugar. People with a genetic condition called phenylketonuria can't metabolize aspartame.

2) Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K) - also known as Sweet One and Sunett. It's 200 times sweeter than sugar. Ace-K is often mixed with other sweeteners to mask its slightly bitter taste, especially in soft drinks. Can be used for cooking and baking.

3) Saccharin - an old stand by, marketed as Sweet N Low and Sugar Twin. Has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Can be used in both hot and cold foods. It's 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

4) Sucralose - this increasingly popular sweetener is a relative newcomer to the market, sold as Splenda. It's 600 times sweeter than sugar. It can be used in cooking and baking, and is being added to a growing number of processed foods.

5) Neotame - a high intensity sweetener made by Nutrasweet. Chemically similar to aspartame, it's an incredible 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike aspartame, it can be used for baking. Also unlike aspartame, it's safe for use by people with phenylketonuria. Neotame is popular with food manufacturers because the low quantities needed to add sweetness cut production costs.

In addition, Stevia, an all natural sweetener derived from a South American shrub, is being extoled as the sweetener of choice for diabetics. Stevia has no calories, and a zero glycemic index. It's up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a little bit goes a long way. Renowned alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil writes, "The only non-caloric sweetener I recommend is stevia. It's safe for diabetics and widely used as a sweetener around the world."

Of particular interest to diabetics, stevia has long been considered a therapeutic herb for hyperglycemia, stimulating the release of insulin and enhancing glucose tolerance. It is used as an inexpensive diabetic medication in South America. Interestingly, although it's been shown to lower blood sugar in diabetics, particularly type 2 diabetics, it does not lower blood sugar in people without the condition. Because of it's affect on blood sugar, it is recommended that diabetics test their blood glucose regularly when they first introduce stevia to their diet. They may need to adjust their diabetes medication - some stevia users insist the herb reduced or eliminated their need for insulin therapy. As an added bonus for diabetics with hypertension, stevia is also known to lower high blood pressure.

Ten Superfoods for an Insulin Resistance Diet

January 24th, 2011

salmon steak

The key to diabetes treatment is controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels, and diet plays a vital role in that complicated process. The main dietary goals in diabetes are balancing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight.

Traditionally, theemphasis in a diabetic diet was on avoiding sugar. Modern guidelines place more emphasis on total carbohydrate intake and the type of carbohydrates eaten - sometimes referred to as an insulin resistance diet. Often, type 2 diabetics can control their disease with diet and exercise alone, avoiding the need for diabetes medications.

The American Diabetes Association has released a list of the top ten "diabetes superfoods". All of the foods on the list have a low glycemic index (a scale of how quickly a carbohydrate raises blood sugar), but rank high in essential nutrients like vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. The ten diabetic superfoods on the American Diabetes Association's list are:

1) Beans - Kidney, pinto, navy, black and other beans are nutritional powerhouses that are low fat and very high in fiber. One-half cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat. Rinse canned beans before you serve them to reduce the amount of sodium.

2) Dark green leafy vegetables - As a general rule, the darker in color a vegetable is, the more nutritional value it has. Spinach, chard, kale, collards and other dark leafy greens are low in both calories and carbohydrates.

3) Citrus fruit - Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes all offer a dose of vitamin C and a helping of soluble fiber. But remember that grapefruit juice can interferes with the action of some medications, including pain relievers and prescription drugs used to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol and abnormal heart rhythms.

4) Sweet potatoes - Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes, and full of vitamin A and fiber.

5) Berries - Berries are low calorie, low carb, and high in antioxidants and fiber. And several studies have shown that blueberries lessen insulin resistance.

6) Tomatoes - Tomatoes are a versatile superfood containing vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and other nutrients. Cooked tomatoes are even better for you than raw, as cooking makes tomatoes' healthy antioxidant compounds like lycopenes easier for your body to absorb.

7) Omega-3 rich fish - Omega-3's are essential fatty acids found in fish (especially salmon), some nuts, and some plants. Omega-3 oils are credited with reducing inflammation, lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, reducing blood clots and playing a crucial role in brain function. Be warned: some type 2 diabetics may have a slight rise in fasting blood sugar when taking fish oils.

8) Whole grains - Avoid processed grains with the fiber-rich bran and germ removed from them. Barley, bran and oats are good grain choices that rate lower on the glycemic index. The fermentation process used for sourdough bread lowers its glycemic index, making it another good choice, especially sourdough rye bread.

9) Nuts - Filling nuts provide protein, magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seed, are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids. But they're high in fat and calories, so eat them in moderation.

10) Low fat or fat-free milk and yogurt - Dairy products provide much-needed calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D.

The bottom line is that a healthy diabetes diet is not much different from that recommended for the general public - high fiber, high protein, and low in fat. Diabetics need to limit their sugar and simple carbohydrate intake more than non-diabetics, and should avoid drinking alcohol. Weight control is especially important for diabetics, as insulin resistance is often associated with excess fatty tissue. Diabetes occurs more frequently in people who eat a lot of fat, and it's recommended that diabetics eat both less overall and less saturated fat, restricting fat to under 30% of their daily calories.

If you are insulin dependent and making changes to your diet or eating patterns, remember that it may have an effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels, and you may need to adjust your insulin therapy accordingly.

Alcohol and Diabetes Control

January 25th, 2011

people drinking

As a general rule, Type 1 diabetics are cautioned against drinking alcohol, primarily because of alcohol's effect on blood sugar (glucose) levels. The liver gives priority to eliminating what it sees as a toxin from the body, interfering with its ability to produce blood glucose. Moderate amounts of alcohol can cause a rise in blood sugar, but increased consumption can quickly cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and can continue to affect blood sugar levels for 8 to 12 hours after drinking.

Interestingly, the effects of alcohol are so similar to the effects of hypoglycemia that a diabetic suffering an episode of serious hypoglycemia can appear drunk. Symptoms include confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, sleepiness and loss of consciousness. This is one reason it's recommended that Type 1 diabetics wear medic-alert identification - to make sure that a case of hypoglycemia is not mistaken for a case of "one too many". Severe hypoglycemia can be life threatening, and prompt and proper treatment is essential.

Hypoglycemia is most common in diabetics who take diabetic medications such as insulin or oral diabetes drugs that increase insulin production. Common causes of low blood sugar among diabetics are late, skipped or inadequate meals; exercise, and drinking alcohol. This is why it's necessary to time your insulin injections or oral diabetes medications around your meals and activities. It's also why long-acting insulin is essential in keeping blood sugar levels even through the night, when they can dip perilously low.

Frequent episodes of hypoglycemia can lead to a condition called hypoglycemia unawareness, in which the body stops releasing stress hormones such as epinephrine in response to a dip in blood sugar. As a result, diabetics with hypoglycemia unawareness (most often Type 1 diabetics) do not experience the usual early warning signs of low blood sugar.

The American Diabetes Association has some advice for Type 1 diabetics who decide to drink:

  • Check with your doctor or dietician first to make sure you can drink safely.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor if you drink more than once or twice a week - it may effect his or her decisions around which types of insulin to prescribe you.
  • Diabetics with high blood pressure or triglyceride levels should not drink alcohol. Alcohol adds to hypertension, and even two drinks a week can increase the amount of triglycerides in the blood.
  • Alcohol can worsen diabetic nerve damage and diabetic eye disease.
  • Men should limit themselves to two drinks a day, and women to one.
  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. It's best to drink with a meal, or at least a snack.
  • Drinking right after exercising is not recommended, as exercise can also decrease blood sugar.
  • Test your blood glucose before you drink, and never drink when your blood sugar is low. Test it again before you go to bed.
  • Be alert for any signs of low blood sugar.
  • Use low calorie, sugar free mixers with your alcohol.
  • Sip your drink slowly, and alternate with sips of a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Wear your medic-alert identification when drinking.
  • Be aware that drinking may lessen your resolve sticking to a diabetes-friendly diet, making you more likely to "cheat" or overindulge.

Diabetes Sniffing Dogs Alert Diabetes Patients to Low Blood Sugar

January 25th, 2011

Diabetes alert dogs, also known as hypoglycemia alert dogs, are trained to detect slight changes in breath and body odors associated with high or low blood sugar, and to alert someone when they detect them. Depending on the odor, a dog's sense of smell is said to be 1000 to 100,000 times greater than a human's.

According to researchers and trainers, a sweet, fruity smell is associated with high blood sugar, while an acidic, almost rusty smell is a sign of low blood sugar. "We found that dogs are incredibly accurate," says Claire Guest from Britain's Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs, "They can warn someone immediately when their blood sugar is dropping to a dangerously low level."

It was anecdotal reports from dog owners that first led to research on man's best friend's ability to warn their diabetic owners of an impending dangerous drop in blood sugar. Sixty-five percent of 212 dog owners with type 1 diabetes who took part in one study in Belfast, Ireland reported that their pets would attempt to get their attention just before a hypoglycemic episode. Some would bark or whine, others would lick and nuzzle them repeatedly, some would jump up on them, and others would stare fixedly and intently at their faces. Almost a third of the animals in the study had reacted to at least 11 events before entering the research project, while another third had reacted more than 11 times.

There are potentially severe consequences for diabetics whose blood sugar levels fall sharply, especially during the night. They can suffer a seizure, slip into a coma or even die without waking up. This is particularly worrisome for parents of diabetic children, many of whom are chronically sleep-deprived from getting up to check on their kids throughout the night. Diabetic alert dogs are trained to sleep with the diabetes patients, periodically sniffing their breath. If they notice a fruity odor, they will attempt to wake the patient and/or alert other family members. Some dogs are even trained to bring the diabetic his or her glucose monitoring kit.

Still, trainers warn that the dogs are not always 100 percent effective, and may miss a scent on occasion, or give a false alarm. They are best considered as another tool in the diabetes patient's blood glucose control tool kit. Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes, is a form of the disease where the body makes little or no insulin. Without insulin, the body is unable to break down glucose for energy, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise.

Lifelong diabetes medication is necessary for type 1 diabetics, and proper nutrition and exercise are important to maintain good health. Insulin injection has been made easier in recent years with the introduction of the more discreet and convenient insulin pen. Insulin pens are the predominant insulin injection system in most of the world, but for some reason the insulin pen is used less commonly in the United States, although their use is increasing

Long-Acting Insulin Best at Controlling Blood Sugar

February 3rd, 2011

blood glucose testing

As type 2 diabetes progresses, oral diabetes medication doses typically need to be adjusted upwards over time, and a good many type 2 diabetics can expect to end up insulin dependent. There does not appear to be any clear consensus on how best to introduce insulin injections in addition to oral diabetes medications - three times a day with meals, twice daily injections, or a single daily long-acting insulin injection.

Professor Rury Holman, director of the Diabetes Trial Unit at Oxford University, was the principal investigator of a large scale study conducted to determine how best to introduce insulin to control blood sugar levels as type 2 diabetes progresses. "Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition with the majority of patients eventually requiring insulin therapy," Holman explains.

Holman and his fellow researchers recruited over 700 type 2 diabetes patients whose current medications were not effectively controlling their blood sugar levels. The patients were divided randomly into three groups to compare the effectiveness of the different insulin dosing regimens, and monitored for three years. After the first year, those patients who were still not achieving the necessary blood glucose control were moved to a more complex insulin therapy.

At the end of the three years, the researchers concluded that once-a-day basal insulin and three-times-a-day mealtimes injections were both more effective at controlling blood sugar levels than twice-daily insulin injections. In addition, those who took the once-daily basal insulin had fewer incidents of low blood sugar than those taking three-times-a-day mealtime insulin.

As a result, the researchers advise those beginning insulin therapy to start with a basal insulin, and add a mealtime insulin if required for what they term "the best combination of effectiveness, safety, and treatment satisfaction". "This large scale study strengthens guidelines recommending adding a basal insulin to oral agents when glycemic targets are not met," says Holman.

Six Warning Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

February 22nd, 2011

Ketoacidosis is a diabetic emergency which occurs as a result of a lack of insulin. Without insulin, the body is unable to use sugar for energy. Unable to use sugar, the body burns its fat stores for energy.

As the fat is broken down, byproducts called ketones are released, building up in the blood and urine. Ketones are acid waste products, and are dangerous at high levels. Blood sugar rises as the liver produces more glucose in an attempt to fuel the body, causing further acidity.

A diabetic who experiences two or more of the following warning signs, and has high glucose readings (over 300mg/dl) should contact their doctor or go to the hospital immediately:

  1. Breath that smells like fruit or nail polish remover
  2. Labored breathing (gasping)
  3. Pronounced thirst
  4. Stomach or abdominal pain
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Flushed complexion

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) usually develops slowly over 24 hours, starting with symptoms such as fatigue, mental stupor, decreased appetite, loss of appetite, headache, and fading consciousness. Often the symptoms of ketoacidosis lead to an initial diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Once the patient starts vomiting, their condition can deteriorate very quickly. If treatment is delayed, the diabetic can fall into a life threatening coma. Ketoacidosis is especially dangerous in the elderly.

Immediate treatment involves an insulin injection to reduce blood glucose levels, and the administration of fluids and electrolytes to combat the dehydration that accompanies DKA. The average adult DKA sufferer loses about one and a half gallons of fluid.

Ketoacidosis is a concern for insulin dependent type 1 diabetics, but occurs much less frequently in type 2 diabetics. Diabetics who are Hispanic or African American are more at risk of DKA. DKA is more common in children and adolescents, and, for unknown reasons, slightly more common in women.

DKA is often the result of an illness. Diabetic ketoacidosis can also result from:

  • A missed insulin dose
  • Incorrect insulin dosing
  • A malfunctioning insulin pump
  • An increased need for insulin (sometimes as a result of a growth spurt in children)
  • Infection
  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Heart attack
  • Use of cocaine

Diabetics can easily test their urine for ketones are using a test strip similar to a glucose test strip. Ketone testing should be done whenever the blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dl, during an illness or health crisis such as a stroke, during pregnancy, and whenever a diabetic is experiencing nausea and/or vomiting. Diabetics who are ill should check their ketones every 4 to 6 hours to ensure adequate diabetes control.

DKA can largely be avoided with proper diet and self care when diabetics are ill or otherwise at risk, including adjusting insulin levels when needed. Before the introduction of insulin injections in the 1920's, DKA was almost always fatal. Since the 1950s, the mortality rate has, thankfully, been reduced to between one and ten percent.

Diabetes a Common Cause of Gastroparesis

March 1st, 2011

stomach
Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying. That's because high blood sugar causes chemical changes in nerves, including the vagus nerve, which controls the movement of food through the digestive tract. High blood sugar also damages the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves, further impairing their functioning.

When the vagus nerve is damaged, then the passage of food through from the stomach through the digestive track slows, or even stops. People commonly suffer from a wide range of gastroparesis symptoms, making the condition difficult to diagnose. Frequency and severity of symptoms also vary widely from individual to individual. Common symptoms are:

? heartburn

? nausea

? upper abdominal pain

? loss of appetite

? bloating

? stomach spasms

? weight loss

? vomiting undigested food

? feeling full after eating small amounts

? gastroesophageal reflux

? high or low blood glucose levels

Food that stays undigested in the stomach can harden into solid masses called bezoars. Bezoars not only cause nausea and vomiting; they can be dangerous if they block the passage of food into the small intestine. Undigested food can also ferment, leading to bacteria overgrowth.

Gastroparesis can complicate diabetes control in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying food in the stomach from entering the intestine. This irregular passage of food through the digestive system results in erratic and unpredictable blood glucose levels. When the food is finally absorbed, blood sugar levels may rise unexpectedly.

As a result, diabetics with gastroparesis must check their blood glucose frequently. They may need to adjust their insulin therapy, change the type of insulin they take, or take their insulin after meals instead of before to maintain proper insulin levels.

Gastroparesis is usually a chronic condition. While it can't be cured, it can be treated. People with gastroparesis are advised to eat six small meals a day instead of three large meals, and to avoid hard to digest high fiber and high fat foods and carbonated drinks. Severe cases may require a liquid diet, or even a feeding tube.

Patients are often given a dopamine antagonist such as prescription domperidone for gastroparesis. Domperidone (generic Motilium) treats both the condition and gastroparesis symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating and a "full" feeling. Some sufferers will require antibiotics. Other potential treatments still in the early stages include gastric electrical stimulation, the use of botulinum toxin, and experimental medications.

International Diabetes Association Supports Bariatric Surgery as Treatment Option in Diabetes Control

March 31st, 2011

surgery

The International Diabetes Association (IDA) has taken the position that bariatric (weight loss) surgery should be considered early on as a cost-effective treatment option to avoid serious complications in type 2 diabetics who are moderately or severely obese.

The IDA 2011 position statement was released around the same time that the FDA expanded the approval of the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System procedure for use in a wider range of obese patients, including diabetics.

The Lap-Band procedure was first approved by the FDA in 2001 for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or for those with a BMI of 35 and at least one other serious obesity-related condition, such as diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure.

Lap-Band gastric banding is now approved for those with a BMI of 30 to 35. But bariatric surgery of any kind should only be used when conventional methods weight loss methods such as diet and exercise have failed. Any such surgery must be accompanied by long-term lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to be successful.

Both gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy are minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, performed through small incisions in the abdomen. In gastric banding surgery, an inflatable silicone device is place on the top portion of the stomach to create a small pouch.

This pouch will only hold about cup of food, as opposed to the 6 cups a normal stomach will hold. The smaller stomach not only helps the patient eat less by making them feel full sooner, it also slows the passage of food into the rest of the stomach and the digestive tract. As the patient loses (or gains) weight, the band is adjusted to maintain comfort and effectiveness.

In a sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is surgically reduced to about one-quarter of its normal size, leaving it the shape of a narrow "sleeve" or tube. The portion of the stomach that is removed secretes an appetite hormone called Ghrelin. Once removed, the patient's appetite is said to decrease. The procedure is irreversible.

A gastric bypass is a more complicated irreversible gastrointestinal surgery in which a pouch is created at the top of the stomach, and then connected directly to the middle of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper intestine, or duodenum. The part of the intestines that is bypassed is where vitamins and minerals are the most easily absorbed, meaning patients must guard against nutritional deficiencies following a gastric bypass.

Studies published in the Archives of Surgery comparing the newer laparoscopic gastric banding surgery and sleeve gastrectomy to the conventional gastric bypass surgery found that, while conventional bypass surgery resulted in higher weight loss, the less invasive Lap-Band procedure was "safer", with fewer complications.

Many bariatric surgery experts believe that surgery which bypasses the duodenum is the most effective for diabetes control because the duodenum plays a role in insulin resistance, and bypassing it reduces insulin resistance in patients with diabetes mellitus. A gastric bypass also results in the most weight loss. "It's very clear - bypass is better than band, period," states bariatric surgeon Dr. Guilherme M. Campos from the University of the Wisconsin School of Medicine, "And if you are diabetic with obesity, the best treatment is a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass."

Dark Cocoa May Lower Insulin Resistance

March 31st, 2011

dark cocoa

Dark cocoa has been linked to a reduction in risk factors for diabetes such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Dark cocoa has also been shown to lower insulin resistance in diabetics.

It's believed that the health benefits arise from the polyphenolic flavonoids in cocoa - antioxidants with the potential to prevent heart attacks which are also found in fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee and wine.

Most commercial chocolate is high in sugar and fat, offsetting its possible health benefits, so more research is needed about the risk/benefits ratio of eating a regular dark chocolate bar.

To read the entire article on WebMD, click >HERE<.

Actos Lowers Risk of Developing Diabetes in Those with Prediabetes

April 5th, 2011

prescription actosA commonly prescribed diabetes medication dramatically lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a recent study of over 600 people with prediabetes, or high blood sugar. Study participants taking the oral diabetes medication Actos experienced a 72 percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Actos, or generic pioglitazone, helps control blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Increasing insulin sensitivity can have a dramatic impact on diabetes risk, according to the researchers.

To read the entire story online on WebMD, click >HERE<.

The Top Ten Diabetes Research Stories of 2010

April 14th, 2011

neon news sign

According to Gary Gilles, About.com's Diabetes Guide and a health writer, educator and counselor, 2010 was an auspicious year in diabetes research and treatment, with many exciting developments.

Gilles has compiled what he considers to be the Top Ten Diabetes Research Stories of 2010. They include the first generation artificial pancreas, an implantable blood glucose sensor, the world's smallest insulin pen needle, a potential diabetes vaccine, and an organ-like insulin-producing cell pouch implant.

To read more about Gilles top picks in his article on About.com, click >HERE<.

Foot Care Fundamental for Diabetics

April 20th, 2011

bare foot

Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes can allow too much glucose to build up in your blood. Over time, high glucose levels can damage nerves and blood vessels. People who have diabetes often have trouble with their feet because of nerve and blood vessel damage, and about one in ten will develop foot ulcers. Two main concerns for diabetics are:

Sensory diabetic neuropathy: If you have damaged nerves in your legs and feet, you might not feel heat, cold, or pain. You may not feel a cut or sore on your foot, which could lead to its being ignored and getting infected. Check your feet regularly for cuts, cracks and blisters.

Peripheral vascular disease: Damaged blood vessels can lead to poor circulation, especially in the extremities. Poor blood flow impedes healing and puts diabetics at risk of developing foot ulcers, or even gangrene.

If you're diabetic, you should avoid going barefoot, wear well-padded socks and comfortable shoes, wash your feet and apply lotion daily, and keep your feet warm and dry. Follow your doctor's advice on diet and exercise, and take your diabetes medication exactly as prescribed to help control your blood glucose.

WebMD has created an informative Diabetes and Foot Problems Slideshow which includeshelpful advice on foot care. To view it, >CLICK HERE<.

Type 2 Diabetes Slideshow

April 26th, 2011

WebMD has put together a slideshow with a wealth of information for type 2 diabetes patients, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and complications. The overview will be of value to newly diagnosed and veteran diabetics, from those managing their diabetes with diet and exercise, through those using oral diabetes medications, to those relying on insulin injections to control their blood sugar.

To see the slideshow on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

Type 2 Diabetes Slideshow

April 26th, 2011

WebMD has put together a slideshow with a wealth of information for type 2 diabetes patients, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and complications. The overview will be of value to newly diagnosed and veteran diabetics, from those managing their diabetes with diet and exercise, through those using oral diabetes medications, to those relying on insulin injections to control their blood sugar.

To see the slideshow on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

Six Ways to Wreck Your Blood Sugar Levels

May 5th, 2011

WebMD has put together a list of Six Ways to Wreck Your Blood Sugar Level, subtitled What Not to Do If You Have Diabetes. The featured post on the online Diabetes Health Centre reminds diabetics that it requires constant vigilance to keep their blood sugar under control, warns against common mistakes and bad habits, and offers advice on how to avoid or deal with these pitfalls.

To read the post on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

New Blood Glucose Meter Simplifies Diabetes Control

May 9th, 2011

Canadian pharmacies are now selling a blood glucose meter that promises to change the experience of blood sugar testing for diabetics. The Accu Chek Mobile has been available overseas since last year, but is only now available in Canada. This all-in-one meter boasts a unique testing system that will simplify the time consuming and sometimes frustrating process of checking blood sugar levels.

No Individual Strips

Unlike conventional blood glucose meters, the Accu Chek Mobile does not use an individual test strip. Instead there is a ribbon of testing material, placed in the machine like a cassette. The cassette winds itself and the display tells you how many tests remain. This method means fewer wasted strips and faster testing times, and is more convenient for people with poor eyesight or shaky hands. Each roll allows 50 tests and is easy to replace.

Lance Drum

Along with the new blood testing strip system, the Accu Chek Mobile also eliminates the need for individual lances, using a drum with 6 lances instead. Again, this is a change that will benefit those with coordination difficulties and eyesight issues, as well as anyone who wants a faster blood glucose test time. Replacement FastClix lances, as well as the replacement test strip cassettes, are available in Canadian pharmacies and through mail order Canadian pharmacies.

The Accu Chek Mobile blood glucose meter is especially useful for diabetics who require blood testing many times a day. It makes testing faster and more convenient by removing many of the steps necessary for other meters: there is no coding involved, no fumbling with individual strips or lancets, and it allows for alternate site testing to give your fingers a break. It is convenient for travelling as it does not require extra supplies and everything you need is in the meter itself, and there is no need to find a garbage disposal for every used test strip. In most areas the cassettes and lances are approved as household waste, so there is no need for a sharps bin.

This blood glucose meter is relatively new to the market in Canada, and is not yet available in the US. Supplies may be harder to find, but are available through an online Canadian pharmacy. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have any questions, and check to see if the Accu Chek Mobile is eligible for coverage under your health plan.

New Blood Glucose Meter Simplifies Diabetes Control

May 9th, 2011

Canadian pharmacies are now selling a blood glucose meter that promises to change the experience of blood sugar testing for diabetics. The Accu Chek Mobile has been available overseas since last year, but is only now available in Canada. This all-in-one meter boasts a unique testing system that will simplify the time consuming and sometimes frustrating process of checking blood sugar levels.

No Individual Strips

Unlike conventional blood glucose meters, the Accu Chek Mobile does not use an individual test strip. Instead there is a ribbon of testing material, placed in the machine like a cassette. The cassette winds itself and the display tells you how many tests remain. This method means fewer wasted strips and faster testing times, and is more convenient for people with poor eyesight or shaky hands. Each roll allows 50 tests and is easy to replace.

Lance Drum

Along with the new blood testing strip system, the Accu Chek Mobile also eliminates the need for individual lances, using a drum with 6 lances instead. Again, this is a change that will benefit those with coordination difficulties and eyesight issues, as well as anyone who wants a faster blood glucose test time. Replacement FastClix lances, as well as the replacement test strip cassettes, are available in Canadian pharmacies and through mail order Canadian pharmacies.

The Accu Chek Mobile blood glucose meter is especially useful for diabetics who require blood testing many times a day. It makes testing faster and more convenient by removing many of the steps necessary for other meters: there is no coding involved, no fumbling with individual strips or lancets, and it allows for alternate site testing to give your fingers a break. It is convenient for travelling as it does not require extra supplies and everything you need is in the meter itself, and there is no need to find a garbage disposal for every used test strip. In most areas the cassettes and lances are approved as household waste, so there is no need for a sharps bin.

This blood glucose meter is relatively new to the market in Canada, and is not yet available in the US. Supplies may be harder to find, but are available through an online Canadian pharmacy. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have any questions, and check to see if the Accu Chek Mobile is eligible for coverage under your health plan.

High Tech Tools for Diabetes Control

May 11th, 2011

insulin pump
It's hard to believe that insulin has only been around as a diabetes treatment since 1922. A pair of Canadians, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, discovered how to extract insulin from animal pancreases, and then used the insulin to treat diabetes in humans. Stories are told of how they went to hospitals and, with a single insulin injection, resuscitated diabetes patients who were already in a coma.

Originally, all insulin was extracted from animals. In the 1970's, researchers started using recombinant DNA technology to produce pure analogues of human insulin. In the last century, diabetes medication and management has progressed by leaps and bounds, including the introduction of long acting insulin in 2003.

The first FDA approved insulin pump hit the market in 1983, and dibetes management technology has greatly advanced in the last couple of decades. WebMD has researched four noteworthy high tech tools for insulin control, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and diabetes information management software that allows the monitor and pump to operate much like an artificial pancreas.

To read the entire article on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

High Tech Tools for Diabetes Control

May 11th, 2011

insulin pump
It's hard to believe that insulin has only been around as a diabetes treatment since 1922. A pair of Canadians, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, discovered how to extract insulin from animal pancreases, and then used the insulin to treat diabetes in humans. Stories are told of how they went to hospitals and, with a single insulin injection, resuscitated diabetes patients who were already in a coma.

Originally, all insulin was extracted from animals. In the 1970's, researchers started using recombinant DNA technology to produce pure analogues of human insulin. In the last century, diabetes medication and management has progressed by leaps and bounds, including the introduction of long acting insulin in 2003.

The first FDA approved insulin pump hit the market in 1983, and dibetes management technology has greatly advanced in the last couple of decades. WebMD has researched four noteworthy high tech tools for insulin control, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and diabetes information management software that allows the monitor and pump to operate much like an artificial pancreas.

To read the entire article on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

What's the Best Exercise to Control Blood Sugar in Diabetics?

May 16th, 2011

jogger

Researchers analyzing the results of 24 separate clinical trials involving over 8400 participants have determined the best type of exercise program to control blood sugar in diabetics. It turns out that engaging in moderate exercise for longer periods of time is more effective at stabilizing blood glucose than shorter bursts of intensive physical activity.

As well, diabetes patients given a structured exercise routine by their health care provider do better than those simply told to get more physical activity. "We always tell patients, even those without diabetes, to get more exercise," says Dr. Joel Zonszein, the Director of the clinical diabetes centre at New York's Montefiore Medical Center, "It would be good if we were able to prescribe an exercise program for them to follow."

Current guidelines suggest type 2 diabetics get at least 2 hours of moderate to intense exercise every week, including aerobic activity and some sort of resistance training such as working out with weights. "Exercise improves insulin activity," stresses Zonszein, "it makes insulin work better."

Some diabetics discover regular work outs reduce their need for diabetes medication, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider if you are beginning or revving up an exercise program. To read more about the study and the researchers' recommendations on HealthDay, >CLICK HERE.<

Gene Discovery Has Great Potential in Diabetes Control

May 17th, 2011

Could the discovery of a "master regulator" gene that controls the activity of other genes linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease lead to a treatment to address all three conditions at once?

A groundbreaking major study has great therapeutic potential in treating not only diabetes, but also the equally serious and widespread conditions obesity and heart disease. A team of researchers led by the University of Oxford and King's College London in Britain have found a "master regulator" gene in fat tissue that controls the activity of other genes in body fat.

The gene, called the KLF14 gene, had already been linked to both type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels, but the role it played was unknown. The research team examined over 20,000 genes from biopsies of the subcutaneous fat of 800 UK female twin volunteers and, later, an additional 600 Icelandic volunteers. They discovered an unexpected interconnectedness between the KLF14 gene and other genes found in fat that are linked to metabolic traits such as obesity, cholesterol, and glucose and insulin levels.

Excess body fat plays a major role in the development of metabolic disorders (disorders involving an alteration in the normal metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, water and nucleic acids) including diabetes and heart disease. As metabolic conditions are closely related, many patients suffer from a combination of conditions such as obesity and diabetes, or heart disease and diabetes.

In fact, adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke than those without diabetes, and about 65% of diabetics die from one or the other. Obesity is believed to be the biggest cause of insulin resistance. Obesity and diabetes are so interconnected that the current concurrent explosion of both has been dubbed the "diabesity epidemic". The prospect of a treatment that would address diabetes, heart disease and obesity together is more than a little heartening.

University of Oxford Professor Mark McCarthy was the study's co-leader. "KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions," McCarthy explains, "We are working hard right now to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."

Professor Tim Spector also co-led the study, dubbed the MuTHER Project. "This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes," says Spector, "This has great therapeutic potential, especially as by studying large detailed populations such as twins, we hope to find more of these regulators."

Diabetics Advised Against Lowering Their Blood Sugar Too Much

May 18th, 2011

Researchers in England are saying that diabetes patients not only receive no advantage, but could actually experience a disadvantage, from lowering their blood sugar below 7 or 7.5 percent hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c is a form of hemoglobin used to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over a period of two to three months.

After reviewing the results of several studies, the researchers are advising type 2 diabetics and their healthcare providers to avoid overly aggressive treatment requiring a lot of intervention or diabetes medication. To view a WebMD video on the possible health risks of lowering your blood sugar too much on >CLICK HERE<.

Insulin Therapy Can Help Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy

May 19th, 2011

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, especially in those who have had diabetes for some time. Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve pain, is nerve damage related to high blood sugar levels. Up to 70 percent of diabetics will develop some sort of neuropathy.

There are four types of diabetic neuropathy - peripheral, proximal, autonomic and focal. The symptoms will vary depending on the type you have, but the first signs are usually numbness, tingling and/or pain in the outer limbs - hands, feet, legs and arms.

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type. Symptoms get worse at night, and include muscle pain and cramping, loss of sensitivity to temperature or pain, and increased sensitivity to touch. Uncontrolled peripheral neuropathy increases the risk of foot ulcers, infection, and even amputation.

The one and only way to treat diabetic neuropathy is to control your blood sugar levels. A major long-term study established that neuropathy was less common in those diabetics controlling their condition through insulin injections. For a comprehensive overview of diabetic neuropathy, including tips on how to prevent and control it, read The Complete Guide to Diabetic Neuropathy at endocrineweb.

Dietary Supplement Could Replace Diabetes Medication

May 24th, 2011

grapefruit

Could the common grapefruit hold the key to avoiding or treating both type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol? A pre-meal supplement currently in clinical trials in the US could change the way your body reacts to both fats and sugars.

A nano-dietary supplement which substantially reduces the amount of fat and sugar the body absorbs from a meal has been developed in a collaboration between Boston's Harvard University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The supplement contains naringenin, the flavonoid that gives grapefruit its bitter taste. In studies with rats, a single dose of naringenin taken just before a high fat and high sugar meal increased insulin sensitivity by an impressive 64%, and reduced the generation of bad cholesterol by a substantial 42%.

The researchers had previously established that the bitter molecule had the potential to treat diabetes, arteriosclerosis (hardened fat in the arteries) and hypermetabolism (increased metabolism, accompanied by insulin resistance), but had to contend with the fact that absorption of naringenin in its natural from is very low.

They were able to increase naringenin's absorption rate by 11 times by creating a nano-complex of naringenin within a ring of sugar called cyclodextrin. As an added bonus, the sugar makes the bitter naringenin more palatable.

"The complex is special in that it is taken just before a meal as a preventative measure," explains Yaakov Nahmias from the Hebrew University, "In comparison, existing medications are given only after the chronic development of abnormal lipid [and sugar] levels in the blood."

Naringenin activates a family of small proteins called nuclear receptors, which cause the liver to break down fatty acids. It appears to mimic the action of both lipid lowering drugs such as Tricor (generic fenofibrate), and diabetes medication such as Avandia (generic rosiglitazone), without any undesired side effects. Naringenin not only combats high levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood; it also improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, reducing insulin resistance.

The researchers have applied for patents, and the supplement is undergoing clinical trials in the US. They are hopeful that the complex may be an effective future preventative and treatment for diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hypermetabolism.

Nutrition and Diabetes Control

May 25th, 2011

woman grocery shopping

Nutrition is vitally important in diabetes management and blood sugar control. About.com's Nutrition and Diabetes page editors have compiled a wealth of information on healthy eating for diabetics including facts on carbs, calories, fiber and the all-important glycemic index; advice on surviving restaurant meals and holiday dinners, and even diabetes-friendly recipes and meal plans.

For those with an interest in alternative approaches, the Nutrition and Diabetes page also provides information on less conventional diets such as vegetarian, raw food and vegan. Other articles give you the lowdown on foods believed to have a positive affect on blood sugar and insulin resistance, such as fenugreek, prickly pear cactus and omega 3 fatty acids.

There are articles on sugar substitutes and hidden sugars, and nutrition facts and carb and calorie counts for individual foods like avocados, pomegranates, eggplant and watermelon (warning - very high carb!). The page also links to articles with recommendations for losing weight, specific diet tips for those with kidney disease, and even advice on healthy eating on a budget.

When making any major changes to your diet and/or activity levels, bear in mind they may impact your blood sugar levels and need for diabetes medication. Consult your healthcare provider about possible changes to your insulin dosage or other diabetes medicine.

To view About.com's Nutrition and Diabetes page, >CLICK HERE.<

Nutrition and Diabetes Control

May 25th, 2011

woman grocery shopping

Nutrition is vitally important in diabetes management and blood sugar control. About.com's Nutrition and Diabetes page editors have compiled a wealth of information on healthy eating for diabetics including facts on carbs, calories, fiber and the all-important glycemic index; advice on surviving restaurant meals and holiday dinners, and even diabetes-friendly recipes and meal plans.

For those with an interest in alternative approaches, the Nutrition and Diabetes page also provides information on less conventional diets such as vegetarian, raw food and vegan. Other articles give you the lowdown on foods believed to have a positive affect on blood sugar and insulin resistance, such as fenugreek, prickly pear cactus and omega 3 fatty acids.

There are articles on sugar substitutes and hidden sugars, and nutrition facts and carb and calorie counts for individual foods like avocados, pomegranates, eggplant and watermelon (warning - very high carb!). The page also links to articles with recommendations for losing weight, specific diet tips for those with kidney disease, and even advice on healthy eating on a budget.

When making any major changes to your diet and/or activity levels, bear in mind they may impact your blood sugar levels and need for diabetes medication. Consult your healthcare provider about possible changes to your insulin dosage or other diabetes medicine.

To view About.com's Nutrition and Diabetes page, >CLICK HERE.<

Software Allows Cars to Monitor Driver's Blood Sugar Levels

May 26th, 2011

The Ford Motor Company is working with Medtronic Inc, a leading manufacturer of blood glucose monitors, to expand Ford's onboard Sync communication system to provide blood sugar monitoring for diabetic drivers. The prototype software monitors blood sugar, displays readouts on the dashboard, and warns the driver if his or her blood glucose is approaching dangerously high or low levels.

The driver can also request blood sugar updates using voice commands. The system can also be used to monitor the blood sugar levels of the vehicle's passenger, such as a diabetic child.

The blood sugar monitoring software uses a Bluetooth connection on the driver's phone to transmit information to the dashboard from a continuous glucose monitor worn on the body. If the driver's blood glucose levels dip to the point where it could cause symptoms like lightheadedness, disorientation, loss of coordination and blurry vision, a robotic voice alerts the driver.

The driver can then take some glucose tablets or diabetes medication, and will be instructed to recheck their blood sugar in 30 minutes. Ultimately, says Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry, the company would like to develop technology that would enable an insulin pump to automatically adjust and administer the correct insulin dosage in response to a low blood sugar reading from the in-car glucose monitoring system.

Ford's voice-activated Sync communication system was developed in partnership with Microsoft Corporation, and has been available since 2008 on most models. Sync provides services like traffic and direction information, voice activated assistance with music and phone calls, and blind spot detection and warnings.

With diabetes at epidemic proportions and the number of American seniors expected to double in less than 50 years, both Ford and GM see in-car health monitoring as an important feature in future automobiles. Ford is also working on other features such as a car seat with sensors that detect electrical impulses from the driver's heart and can warn of a pending heart attack.

"The car is more than just a car," says Ford's chief technology officer Paul Mascarenas, "People spend almost an entire week a year on the road, and that's expected to increase. The car is a private space for conducting personal business. We see health and wellness as a core area."

Ford says the continuous glucose monitoring system is advancing quickly, and hopes to make the feature available to America's approximately 26 million diabetics in three to five years.

Is HbA1c Glucose Monitoring About to Become Old News?

June 1st, 2011

The gold standard hemoglobin HbA1c glucose monitoring test may soon lose ground to an alternative test recently developed in Tokyo. The new glycated albumin (GA) assay test measures blood sugar over 17 days, as opposed to over 3 months for HbA1c testing. This enables the GA to give a more accurate picture of diabetes control in patients with rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

HbA1c testing, which averages blood glucose levels over three months, has long been the most widespread and trusted form of blood sugar monitoring in diabetes. While it has proved a valuable tool in both diagnosing and monitoring diabetes, recent studies have questioned its effectiveness in children, and in diabetics with kidney failure.A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics advised physicians that HbA1c results can be misleading in children, possibly because of changing hormone levels. The researchers discovered the 8-hour fasting plasma glucose test provided more accurate results, and recommended the glucose tolerance test remain the "gold standard" to detect diabetes in children.

Another study of diabetics with advanced kidney failure discovered that HbA1c testing did not always give accurate results. "Most organs don't function properly in severe kidney failure," explained lead investigator Dr. Barry Freedman from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, "For example, most dialysis patients have anemia with fewer red blood cells than they should, which has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of the HbA1c reading."

This is because blood sugar reacts with the hemoglobin in red blood cells to give HbA1c values. The results are accurate with red blood cells with a normal life span, but the red blood cells in dialysis patients have a shorter life span, resulting in lower HbA1c values.

"Dialysis patients and their doctors get a false sense of security," warns Freedman," because their lower HbA1c actually relates to shorter red cell survival, yet suggests diabetes control is better than it really is." The researchers determined that the newer glycated albumin assay test proved much more accurate in diabetic patients with impaired kidney function.

The new test's ability to monitor frequent changes in blood sugar levels should also prove beneficial in the treatment of gestational diabetes, unstable plasma glucose levels and conditions that cause changes in or shorten the lifespan of hemoglobin.

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, and almost 50 percent of dialysis patients are diabetics. Accurate blood sugar monitoring is essential in the management of diabetes, including determining when to implement insulin therapy and the dosages and effectiveness of diabetes medication such as insulin injections.

The new GA test, developed by the Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, is available in Japan, China and South Korea, but is not yet FDA approved in the United States. Freedman is recommending that doctors of diabetic dialysis patients monitor their blood sugar levels with multiple daily readings until the GA test is available in the US.

For more information on the GA test, visit Asahi Kasei Pharma.

Lipid Profiling Can Predict Diabetes Risk Better than Current Methods

June 2nd, 2011

Studying the genetic make-up of lipids, or fatty molecules, in the blood (lipidomic profiling) can lead to improved and earlier prediction of the risk of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

A ten-year study of about 1100 Mexican Americans - a group at high risk of diabetes - discovered that a single predictor, a lipid component called dihydroceramide (dhCer), was substantially increased in people with diabetes.

Dihydroceramide is genetic, and appears to be an independent risk factor with no connection to blood sugar and insulin levels. In the future, measurement of dhCer levels may become part of routine screenings for diabetes, allowing health care providers to identify those at risk long before existing screening procedures.

Those identified as being at risk could then make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, becoming more physically active and improving their diet to avoid becoming diabetic.

Currently, the most commonly used predictors are measurements of blood glucose and insulin levels, which do not provide useful information until the patient is close to developing or has already developed insulin resistance or diabetes.

The discovery of the link between dhCer and diabetes could also lead to new and more effective means of diabetes control. To read more about lipid genetics on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Lipid Profiling Can Predict Diabetes Risk Better than Current Methods

June 2nd, 2011

Studying the genetic make-up of lipids, or fatty molecules, in the blood (lipidomic profiling) can lead to improved and earlier prediction of the risk of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

A ten-year study of about 1100 Mexican Americans - a group at high risk of diabetes - discovered that a single predictor, a lipid component called dihydroceramide (dhCer), was substantially increased in people with diabetes.

Dihydroceramide is genetic, and appears to be an independent risk factor with no connection to blood sugar and insulin levels. In the future, measurement of dhCer levels may become part of routine screenings for diabetes, allowing health care providers to identify those at risk long before existing screening procedures.

Those identified as being at risk could then make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, becoming more physically active and improving their diet to avoid becoming diabetic.

Currently, the most commonly used predictors are measurements of blood glucose and insulin levels, which do not provide useful information until the patient is close to developing or has already developed insulin resistance or diabetes.

The discovery of the link between dhCer and diabetes could also lead to new and more effective means of diabetes control. To read more about lipid genetics on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Ten Common Myths About Diabetes and Diet

June 3rd, 2011

Many diabetics, and those caring for diabetics, are confused and concerned about the best diet for diabetes control. The issue is of concern to both insulin dependent diabetics (many of whom balance a combination of mealtime and long acting insulin to maintain blood sugar control) and to type 2 diabetics who are able to manage their diabetes with diet, or a combination of diet and oral diabetes medication.

WebMD has explored ten common beliefs and myths about diabetes and diet. Is diabetes caused by eating too much sugar? Does having diabetes mean that you can never eat another dessert? Should diabetics avoid all carbohydrates? Can you adjust your insulin dosage to allow you to "cheat" on a diabetes diet?

What's the deal on artificial sweeteners? Is there such a thing as too much protein? For the answers to these and other commonly asked questions about diabetes and diet, visit Ten Common Diet Myths at WebMD.com.

Ten Common Myths About Diabetes and Diet

June 3rd, 2011

Many diabetics, and those caring for diabetics, are confused and concerned about the best diet for diabetes control. The issue is of concern to both insulin dependent diabetics (many of whom balance a combination of mealtime and long acting insulin to maintain blood sugar control) and to type 2 diabetics who are able to manage their diabetes with diet, or a combination of diet and oral diabetes medication.

WebMD has explored ten common beliefs and myths about diabetes and diet. Is diabetes caused by eating too much sugar? Does having diabetes mean that you can never eat another dessert? Should diabetics avoid all carbohydrates? Can you adjust your insulin dosage to allow you to "cheat" on a diabetes diet?

What's the deal on artificial sweeteners? Is there such a thing as too much protein? For the answers to these and other commonly asked questions about diabetes and diet, visit Ten Common Diet Myths at WebMD.com.

Substance in Frog Skin May Play Role in Diabetes Control

June 7th, 2011

Award-winning research has uncovered two substances in frog's skin with the potential to treat diabetes, cancer, stroke, organ transplants and many other conditions. The substances are proteins, or peptides, that could be used in a controlled and targeted way to regulate the growth of blood vessels.

The proteins are excreted in waxy substances on the frog's outer skin, and can be extracted without harming the frogs, which can then be released. One of the proteins, extracted from the Waxy Monkey Frog, has the potential to kill cancer tumors.

A different protein from the Giant Firebellied Toad switches on a process called angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. This process could be used to repair stubborn wounds like diabetic ulcers; help repair damage to blood vessels caused by high blood sugar, heart attacks and strokes, and aid in organ transplants.

"We are absolutely convinced that the natural world holds the solutions to many of our problems," says Queen's University Belfast Professor Chris Shaw, who led the research, "We just need to pose the right questions to find them."

Scientists and drug companies all over the world have spent billions of dollars over the years trying to develop a drug that can target, control and grow blood vessels. To read more about the ground breaking Queen's University angiogenesis research on ScienceDaily.com, >CLICK HERE.<

Type 1 Diabetics Respond Well to New Type 2 Diabetes Medication

June 8th, 2011

Type 1 diabetics given a recently approved type 2 diabetes medication in addition to their insulin therapy experienced a "dramatic change" in their health. They had more stable blood sugar levels, needed less insulin, and even lost an average ten pounds over six months.

The FDA approved Victoza as a once-daily injection to treat type 2 non insulin dependent diabetes in adults in early 2010. Although it is injected, Victoza is not a type of insulin. Victoza (generic name liraglutide) belongs to a new class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic the action of a natural peptide which helps the pancreas to make more insulin after a meal. They also slow the absorption of sugar in the stomach, act as an appetite suppressant, and lower levels of glucagon, a hormone which counteracts the effect of insulin.

Researchers at the State University of New York conducted a clinical study with 14 type 1 diabetics whose blood sugar was well controlled using an insulin pump. Although their insulin therapy was effective, all the study participants showed unpredictable peaks and dips in their blood sugar levels.

When Victoza was added to their insulin therapy, all 14 saw their blood sugar quickly stabilize. Within a week, their fasting and blood sugar levels fell an average 15 percent. The longer they took Victoza, the less insulin they required. Both their mealtime and all-day insulin dosing lowered about 30 percent. Those that continued in the study for six months experienced even less need for insulin.

Lowering the levels of insulin suppressing glucagon appears to be of much more benefit to type 1 diabetics than had been anticipated. "Over a protracted period of time, as their diabetes continues to be well controlled, there is delightful improvement in patients' well being," says study leader Dr. Paresh Dandona.

Prescription Byetta (generic name exenatide) is a similar GLP-1 receptor agonist also recently approved by the FDA. Exenatide mimics the action of incretin hormones to lower blood sugar. Byetta is injected twice daily. Byetta has not yet been tested in type 1 diabetes, but the researchers believe both type 2 diabetes drugs would have the same effects.

Both liraglutide and exenatide are normally prescribed in combination with diet, exercise, and other diabetes medication. Neither Victoza or Byetta are FDA approved for use in type 1 diabetes, and Dandona advises that they should only be prescribed off-label by an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes treatment. Dandona is pursuing funding for a larger study.

Type 1 Diabetics Respond Well to New Type 2 Diabetes Medication

June 8th, 2011

Type 1 diabetics given a recently approved type 2 diabetes medication in addition to their insulin therapy experienced a "dramatic change" in their health. They had more stable blood sugar levels, needed less insulin, and even lost an average ten pounds over six months.

The FDA approved Victoza as a once-daily injection to treat type 2 non insulin dependent diabetes in adults in early 2010. Although it is injected, Victoza is not a type of insulin. Victoza (generic name liraglutide) belongs to a new class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic the action of a natural peptide which helps the pancreas to make more insulin after a meal. They also slow the absorption of sugar in the stomach, act as an appetite suppressant, and lower levels of glucagon, a hormone which counteracts the effect of insulin.

Researchers at the State University of New York conducted a clinical study with 14 type 1 diabetics whose blood sugar was well controlled using an insulin pump. Although their insulin therapy was effective, all the study participants showed unpredictable peaks and dips in their blood sugar levels.

When Victoza was added to their insulin therapy, all 14 saw their blood sugar quickly stabilize. Within a week, their fasting and blood sugar levels fell an average 15 percent. The longer they took Victoza, the less insulin they required. Both their mealtime and all-day insulin dosing lowered about 30 percent. Those that continued in the study for six months experienced even less need for insulin.

Lowering the levels of insulin suppressing glucagon appears to be of much more benefit to type 1 diabetics than had been anticipated. "Over a protracted period of time, as their diabetes continues to be well controlled, there is delightful improvement in patients' well being," says study leader Dr. Paresh Dandona.

Prescription Byetta (generic name exenatide) is a similar GLP-1 receptor agonist also recently approved by the FDA. Exenatide mimics the action of incretin hormones to lower blood sugar. Byetta is injected twice daily. Byetta has not yet been tested in type 1 diabetes, but the researchers believe both type 2 diabetes drugs would have the same effects.

Both liraglutide and exenatide are normally prescribed in combination with diet, exercise, and other diabetes medication. Neither Victoza or Byetta are FDA approved for use in type 1 diabetes, and Dandona advises that they should only be prescribed off-label by an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes treatment. Dandona is pursuing funding for a larger study.

Medalists Survive 50 Years without Diabetes Complications

June 10th, 2011

The Joslin Diabetes Center's 50-Year Medal Program honors the accomplishments of those who have survived 50 years or more with diabetes. The Boston-based Center has been following insulin dependent diabetics who have successfully managed their condition over many years.

The Center's 50-year medalists, almost half of which have managed to avoid serious complications such as eye or kidney damage, are being studied in an attempt to determine genetic, physical, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to successful long-term management of the condition.

Years of analyzing data from over 500 long-term diabetes patients have revealed some interesting, and occasionally surprising, information. Perhaps most striking is the fact that almost 70 percent of the medalists still produce some insulin, indicating they may have some defense against beta cell destruction.

Joslin researchers studying the medalists hope to uncover ways to preserve and create insulin-producing beta cells in other insulin dependent diabetics, to develop more effective diabetes medications, or even to find a cure for diabetes.

For some personal survival secrets from two of the medalists who have lived long and healthy lives with diabetes, and some interesting observations on how diabetes control has changed over the years, visit diabeticlifestyle.com.

Medalists Survive 50 Years without Diabetes Complications

June 10th, 2011

The Joslin Diabetes Center's 50-Year Medal Program honors the accomplishments of those who have survived 50 years or more with diabetes. The Boston-based Center has been following insulin dependent diabetics who have successfully managed their condition over many years.

The Center's 50-year medalists, almost half of which have managed to avoid serious complications such as eye or kidney damage, are being studied in an attempt to determine genetic, physical, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to successful long-term management of the condition.

Years of analyzing data from over 500 long-term diabetes patients have revealed some interesting, and occasionally surprising, information. Perhaps most striking is the fact that almost 70 percent of the medalists still produce some insulin, indicating they may have some defense against beta cell destruction.

Joslin researchers studying the medalists hope to uncover ways to preserve and create insulin-producing beta cells in other insulin dependent diabetics, to develop more effective diabetes medications, or even to find a cure for diabetes.

For some personal survival secrets from two of the medalists who have lived long and healthy lives with diabetes, and some interesting observations on how diabetes control has changed over the years, visit diabeticlifestyle.com.

Poor Sleep in Diabetics Leads to 82% Higher Insulin Resistance

June 13th, 2011

man in bed

There are complex cause and effect relationships between sleep and diabetes. Poor sleep is considered a risk factor for diabetes, while diabetes is considered a contributor to poor sleep.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are more common in people with type 2 diabetes. As a result, many diabetics don't sleep as well as people without the disease.

Recently, researchers conducting a study titled Cross-Sectional Associations Between Measure Of Sleep And Markers Of Glucose Metabolism Among Persons With And Without Diabetes" monitored the sleep patterns of 40 type 2 diabetics over six nights. They were first interviewed about their normal sleeping patterns, and blood samples were taken to measure their glucose and insulin levels.

Participants wore activity monitors on their wrists to measure their movements through the night. A poor sleep was defined by both the data from the wrist monitors, and the patient's description of how long it took them to fall asleep and how many times they woke up through the night.

The poor sleepers had significantly higher blood glucose levels in the morning - 23 percent higher than those who got a restful sleep. Even more striking, their blood insulin levels were 48 percent higher. The researchers crunched the two numbers to calculate that poor sleepers with diabetes had 82% higher insulin resistance than diabetics who were able to get a good sleep.

"Poor sleep quality in people with diabetes was associated with worse control of their blood sugar levels," said the study's lead author, Kristen Knutson, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine, "people who have a hard time controlling their blood glucose levels have a higher risk of complications. They have a reduced quality of life. And they have a reduced life expectancy."

The logical next step, according to the researchers, is to see if improving the quality of sleep in diabetics can help them lower insulin resistance give them better long term diabetes control and improve their quality of life.

"This suggests that improving sleep quality in diabetics would have a similar beneficial effect as the most commonly used anti- diabetes drugs," said Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor of medicine and co-author of the study, which was recently published in Diabetes Care.

The researchers also want to solve the "chicken and egg" aspect of chronic poor sleep and chronic insulin resistance, and determine which leads to the other. In the meantime, they're suggesting that diabetics with insomnia add sleep treatment to their diabetes medication.

Poor Sleep in Diabetics Leads to 82% Higher Insulin Resistance

June 13th, 2011

man in bed

There are complex cause and effect relationships between sleep and diabetes. Poor sleep is considered a risk factor for diabetes, while diabetes is considered a contributor to poor sleep.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are more common in people with type 2 diabetes. As a result, many diabetics don't sleep as well as people without the disease.

Recently, researchers conducting a study titled Cross-Sectional Associations Between Measure Of Sleep And Markers Of Glucose Metabolism Among Persons With And Without Diabetes" monitored the sleep patterns of 40 type 2 diabetics over six nights. They were first interviewed about their normal sleeping patterns, and blood samples were taken to measure their glucose and insulin levels.

Participants wore activity monitors on their wrists to measure their movements through the night. A poor sleep was defined by both the data from the wrist monitors, and the patient's description of how long it took them to fall asleep and how many times they woke up through the night.

The poor sleepers had significantly higher blood glucose levels in the morning - 23 percent higher than those who got a restful sleep. Even more striking, their blood insulin levels were 48 percent higher. The researchers crunched the two numbers to calculate that poor sleepers with diabetes had 82% higher insulin resistance than diabetics who were able to get a good sleep.

"Poor sleep quality in people with diabetes was associated with worse control of their blood sugar levels," said the study's lead author, Kristen Knutson, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine, "people who have a hard time controlling their blood glucose levels have a higher risk of complications. They have a reduced quality of life. And they have a reduced life expectancy."

The logical next step, according to the researchers, is to see if improving the quality of sleep in diabetics can help them lower insulin resistance give them better long term diabetes control and improve their quality of life.

"This suggests that improving sleep quality in diabetics would have a similar beneficial effect as the most commonly used anti- diabetes drugs," said Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor of medicine and co-author of the study, which was recently published in Diabetes Care.

The researchers also want to solve the "chicken and egg" aspect of chronic poor sleep and chronic insulin resistance, and determine which leads to the other. In the meantime, they're suggesting that diabetics with insomnia add sleep treatment to their diabetes medication.

"Super Mice" Suggest Promising New Approach to Diabetes Medication

June 14th, 2011

lab mice

Scientists at the prestigious Mayo Clinic are excited about a promising prospective treatment for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a result of the body losing sensitivity to insulin and no longer being able to respond to it. Current diabetes treatments concentrate on increasing insulin levels - either by administering insulin injections, or by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin.

A Mayo Clinic Department of Neuroscience research team, led by Malcolm Leissring, Ph.D, took a different approach - blocking the breakdown of insulin after it was released by the pancreas. Conducting studies in mice, the researchers genetically deleted an insulin-degrading enzyme, or IDE, which breaks insulin down into smaller pieces to help control insulin levels in the blood.

The IDE-less rodents were "super mice" in regards to their ability to lower their blood sugar after a meal (a problem for many diabetics). They also had higher insulin levels, weighed less, and had better overall blood sugar control.

"Insulin levels in the blood reflect the balance between how much is secreted and how fast it is broken down," explains Leissring, "Blocking the breakdown of insulin is simply an alternative method for achieving the same goals as existing diabetes therapies."

Unfortunately, IDE inhibitors will need some work before they can be used in humans. The "super mice" eventually overdosed on the trial diabetes drug, becoming insulin resistant and developing classic type 2 diabetes. "It's an example of too much of a good thing becoming bad for you, explains researcher Samer Abdul-Hay, Ph.D, "Deleting all IDE is overkill". He believes that drugs that only partially or temporarily inhibit IDE could be effective long-term diabetes medications.

The study also raises some interesting questions about how diabetes starts. Diabetes is usually believed to cause hyperinsulinemia, or excess insulin levels in the blood. But as the "super mice" with IDE-elevated insulin levels aged, it worked the other way around - the mice lost insulin receptors, became insulin resistant, and developed type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Leissring and his team are currently working on developing more IDE inhibitors, stressing that they in the "early, but exciting days" of their research, and are still unsure if the results will apply to humans. The American Diabetes Association recently awarded them a five-year development grant - a solid indication of its interest in and support for this new avenue of diabetes research.

Oil Refining Expertise Being Applied to Closed Loop Artificial Pancreas

June 15th, 2011

Engineers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are building on automation techniques used in oil refining to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics. The Institute's Professor B. Wayne Bequette, whose sister developed diabetes early in life, has been fine tuning an increasingly advanced diabetes control system for six years.

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, leaving them dependent on insulin injections. Blood sugar and insulin levels rise and fall normally during the day, responding to factors like meals, the type of food eaten, stress and exercise. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently, and adjust their insulin dose accordingly.

Bequette's artificial pancreas marries an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. The combination quickly and accurately identifies and responds to rapid variations in blood sugar and insulin levels, eliminating the need for frequent testing and guesswork.

To read more about Bequette and his fellow researcher's work on theEngineer >CLICK HERE.<

Oil Refining Expertise Being Applied to Closed Loop Artificial Pancreas

June 15th, 2011

Engineers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are building on automation techniques used in oil refining to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics. The Institute's Professor B. Wayne Bequette, whose sister developed diabetes early in life, has been fine tuning an increasingly advanced diabetes control system for six years.

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, leaving them dependent on insulin injections. Blood sugar and insulin levels rise and fall normally during the day, responding to factors like meals, the type of food eaten, stress and exercise. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently, and adjust their insulin dose accordingly.

Bequette's artificial pancreas marries an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. The combination quickly and accurately identifies and responds to rapid variations in blood sugar and insulin levels, eliminating the need for frequent testing and guesswork.

To read more about Bequette and his fellow researcher's work on theEngineer >CLICK HERE.<

Online Diabetes Community Invited to Contribute to Video Project

June 17th, 2011

Kim Vlasnik, an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic since the age of six, found welcome support through the online diabetes community. She has been writing the cheeky diabetes blog Texting My Pancreas (a name inspired by her insulin pump) since 2010. "Living with diabetes feels much more bearable when I think of it as a team sport," she writes on her About Me page.

Now the ambitious Vlasnik has launched a companion video project to strengthen the online community and to lessen the isolation, depression, anxiety and frustration often caused by diabetes. The project, called You Can Do This, invites diabetics to create and share videos of their personal challenges to show others they can get through the tough times.

Vlasnik believes that everyone with diabetes struggles at one time or another, and that validation and community can lighten the emotional load. "Tell us your stories," she invites her readers, "Show others what living with diabetes is really like - no sugar-coating. Talk about the tough stuff. Show us how you've dealt with it. Let others see their own struggles and feeling through your words."

Launched June 15th, 2010, the site had almost fifty videos uploaded in its first two days, and numerous positive comments posted by grateful fans. Texting My Pancreas and the You Can Do This Project can be found at www.textingmypancreas.com.

Online Diabetes Community Invited to Contribute to Video Project

June 17th, 2011

Kim Vlasnik, an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic since the age of six, found welcome support through the online diabetes community. She has been writing the cheeky diabetes blog Texting My Pancreas (a name inspired by her insulin pump) since 2010. "Living with diabetes feels much more bearable when I think of it as a team sport," she writes on her About Me page.

Now the ambitious Vlasnik has launched a companion video project to strengthen the online community and to lessen the isolation, depression, anxiety and frustration often caused by diabetes. The project, called You Can Do This, invites diabetics to create and share videos of their personal challenges to show others they can get through the tough times.

Vlasnik believes that everyone with diabetes struggles at one time or another, and that validation and community can lighten the emotional load. "Tell us your stories," she invites her readers, "Show others what living with diabetes is really like - no sugar-coating. Talk about the tough stuff. Show us how you've dealt with it. Let others see their own struggles and feeling through your words."

Launched June 15th, 2010, the site had almost fifty videos uploaded in its first two days, and numerous positive comments posted by grateful fans. Texting My Pancreas and the You Can Do This Project can be found at www.textingmypancreas.com.

Caffeine Increases Insulin Resistance

June 20th, 2011

Add your daily cup of java to the list of things that can makeit more difficult to control your diabetes. A growing body of research indicates that caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and increases insulin resistance, even in people that don't have diabetes.

The findings raise concerns that caffeine's tendency to increase insulin resistance could increase the risk of developing diabetes, or lead to poor control of the disease in those that already have it.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the expected rise in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates is exaggerated if they also drink a caffeinated beverage. This larger than anticipated rise in blood glucose could throw off diabetics' calculations of the required dosage of diabetes medication, including insulin injections.

This is further complicated by the fact that people metabolize coffee at different speeds, and that both slow and fast metabolizers are common in the general population.

Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in tea, soft drinks and in energy drinks. Caffeine's impact on glucose metabolism was reported on in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science.

"The links that have been revealed between diabetes and the consumption of caffeine beverages - especially coffee - are of monumental importance when it is acknowledged that more than 80 percent of the world's population consumes caffeine daily," says the new journal's editor in chief, Jack E. James.

Caffeine Increases Insulin Resistance

June 20th, 2011

Add your daily cup of java to the list of things that can makeit more difficult to control your diabetes. A growing body of research indicates that caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and increases insulin resistance, even in people that don't have diabetes.

The findings raise concerns that caffeine's tendency to increase insulin resistance could increase the risk of developing diabetes, or lead to poor control of the disease in those that already have it.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the expected rise in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates is exaggerated if they also drink a caffeinated beverage. This larger than anticipated rise in blood glucose could throw off diabetics' calculations of the required dosage of diabetes medication, including insulin injections.

This is further complicated by the fact that people metabolize coffee at different speeds, and that both slow and fast metabolizers are common in the general population.

Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in tea, soft drinks and in energy drinks. Caffeine's impact on glucose metabolism was reported on in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science.

"The links that have been revealed between diabetes and the consumption of caffeine beverages - especially coffee - are of monumental importance when it is acknowledged that more than 80 percent of the world's population consumes caffeine daily," says the new journal's editor in chief, Jack E. James.

American Idol Stars Warn Against Neglecting Diabetes

June 21st, 2011

American Idol runner-up singer/songwriter Crystal Bowersox has revealed that she was hospitalized for two days with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) during last year's finals. Bowersox now admits to neglecting her disease, sometimes going an entire day without testing her blood sugar.

With her diabetes now under control, she currently checks her blood glucose levels at least 10 times a day. "When you know what your reading is, you know what to do," says Bowersox, who now strives to be a good role model for fellow insulin dependent diabetics, "The only way you can live your life is by monitoring your diabetes."

Bowersox, a type 1 diabetic since age 6, is now an advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Research Institute. Fellow Idol contestant Kevin Covais, also a type 1 diabetic, has joined Bowersox in her advocacy for both diabetes organizations.

DKA usually results from not monitoring and controlling blood sugar and insulin levels, especially around mealtimes. Insulin dependent diabetics also need to take into consideration their stress and activity levels when calculating the correct insulin dosage.

To read more about Bowersox's and Covais's experiences and their advice for fellow diabetics, visit Yahoo News

Nicotine Raises Blood Sugar

June 22nd, 2011

The Department of Chemistry at California State Polytechnic University has some important news about smoking and blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics:

  • Nicotine is now known to raise blood sugar levels.
  • The more you smoke, the higher your blood sugar rises.
  • In laboratory testing, two days of nicotine dosing (the equivalent of one or two packs a day) increased HbA1c levels (average blood sugar readings over a period of time) in blood samples by up to 34.5 percent.
  • An increase in HbA1c levels of just 1 percent equals a 40 percent increase in the risk of diabetes complications.
  • Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches have the same effect on blood sugar as smoking.

Increases in blood sugar and poor diabetes control have already been clearly linked to diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke, eye and kidney disease and nerve damage, and it was known that diabetics who smoke have higher levels of complications than diabetics who don't smoke.

What wasn't clear was which of the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes were responsible. It's now believed that nicotine may impact glucose metabolism by interfering with the way glucose attaches to proteins, possibly changing their structure and function.

The American Cancer Society has developed a useful guide to help both diabetics and non-diabetics quit smoking. Download the PDF >HERE<.

Nicotine Raises Blood Sugar

June 22nd, 2011

The Department of Chemistry at California State Polytechnic University has some important news about smoking and blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics:

  • Nicotine is now known to raise blood sugar levels.
  • The more you smoke, the higher your blood sugar rises.
  • In laboratory testing, two days of nicotine dosing (the equivalent of one or two packs a day) increased HbA1c levels (average blood sugar readings over a period of time) in blood samples by up to 34.5 percent.
  • An increase in HbA1c levels of just 1 percent equals a 40 percent increase in the risk of diabetes complications.
  • Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches have the same effect on blood sugar as smoking.

Increases in blood sugar and poor diabetes control have already been clearly linked to diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke, eye and kidney disease and nerve damage, and it was known that diabetics who smoke have higher levels of complications than diabetics who don't smoke.

What wasn't clear was which of the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes were responsible. It's now believed that nicotine may impact glucose metabolism by interfering with the way glucose attaches to proteins, possibly changing their structure and function.

The American Cancer Society has developed a useful guide to help both diabetics and non-diabetics quit smoking. Download the PDF >HERE<.

Diabetic Cookie Recipe

June 23rd, 2011

diabetic cookies

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1/3 cup brown sugar substitute, suitable for baking

2 cups oatmeal

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup nuts

Mix applesauce, margarine, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar substitute well; add the remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Healthy eating is crucial to diabetes control. But being diabetic doesn't mean you can never enjoy something sweet. The above recipe is courtesy of Sugar-Free.org Diabetic Recipes. Visit the site for an entire library of diabetic recipes, along with helpful tips, news and advice for diabetics.

Diabetic Cookie Recipe

June 23rd, 2011

diabetic cookies

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1/3 cup brown sugar substitute, suitable for baking

2 cups oatmeal

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup nuts

Mix applesauce, margarine, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar substitute well; add the remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Healthy eating is crucial to diabetes control. But being diabetic doesn't mean you can never enjoy something sweet. The above recipe is courtesy of Sugar-Free.org Diabetic Recipes. Visit the site for an entire library of diabetic recipes, along with helpful tips, news and advice for diabetics.

Weird Warning for Diabetics With Pets

June 24th, 2011

Jack Russell terrier

The Director of the Amputation Prevention Center at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, Dr. Lee C. Rogers, has a warning for diabetic pet owners who have suffered a loss of feeling due to nerve damage.

The warning stems from an incident in which a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier chewed off the infected big toe of its owner while she slept. The 48-year-old Des Moines woman woke in the morning to find part of her toe missing, and blood on her bed and her pet's face.

"She didn't feel it at all," said Rogers, a podiatrist who treated the woman, "When she woke up, there was blood all over the place." Rogers eventually had to amputate the woman's leg after she developed an infection - leaving her a double amputee.

Rogers is now cautioning diabetics who have lost feeling in their limbs to cover their feet and any wounds while sleeping. "Pets have a tendency to lick wounds, and that simple lick can turn into a bite if there is no response from its owner," warns Rogers, adding that there has also been cases of dog's saliva infecting their owners with dangerous bacteria.

About 60 to 70 percent of diabetics have some sort of nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, due to poor diabetes control. Diabetic neuropathy results from years of high blood glucose levels, and often begins with a loss of sensation in the feet.

Diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause of amputation, although staff at the Amputation Prevention Center have achieved a limb salvage rate of 96 percent since opening its doors in January of 2010. The Center uses cutting-edge technology and a unique team approach. It recorded an average healing rate of 52 days in its 350 patients the first year, less than half the national average of 120 days.

Oddly, this is not the first known incident of this type. Last year a Michigan man with type 2 diabetes lost part of his big toe when his Jack Russell bit it off after the man passed out from a night of drinking. Doctors who treated him after the incident said they would have had to amputate the toe anyway.

Diabetic neuropathy is not an inevitable part of having diabetes. It can be avoided, or at the very least, minimized with proper diabetes control. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics can control their condition with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, careful blood glucose monitoring, and oral diabetes medication insulin injections if needed.

Weird Warning for Diabetics With Pets

June 24th, 2011

Jack Russell terrier

The Director of the Amputation Prevention Center at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, Dr. Lee C. Rogers, has a warning for diabetic pet owners who have suffered a loss of feeling due to nerve damage.

The warning stems from an incident in which a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier chewed off the infected big toe of its owner while she slept. The 48-year-old Des Moines woman woke in the morning to find part of her toe missing, and blood on her bed and her pet's face.

"She didn't feel it at all," said Rogers, a podiatrist who treated the woman, "When she woke up, there was blood all over the place." Rogers eventually had to amputate the woman's leg after she developed an infection - leaving her a double amputee.

Rogers is now cautioning diabetics who have lost feeling in their limbs to cover their feet and any wounds while sleeping. "Pets have a tendency to lick wounds, and that simple lick can turn into a bite if there is no response from its owner," warns Rogers, adding that there has also been cases of dog's saliva infecting their owners with dangerous bacteria.

About 60 to 70 percent of diabetics have some sort of nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, due to poor diabetes control. Diabetic neuropathy results from years of high blood glucose levels, and often begins with a loss of sensation in the feet.

Diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause of amputation, although staff at the Amputation Prevention Center have achieved a limb salvage rate of 96 percent since opening its doors in January of 2010. The Center uses cutting-edge technology and a unique team approach. It recorded an average healing rate of 52 days in its 350 patients the first year, less than half the national average of 120 days.

Oddly, this is not the first known incident of this type. Last year a Michigan man with type 2 diabetes lost part of his big toe when his Jack Russell bit it off after the man passed out from a night of drinking. Doctors who treated him after the incident said they would have had to amputate the toe anyway.

Diabetic neuropathy is not an inevitable part of having diabetes. It can be avoided, or at the very least, minimized with proper diabetes control. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics can control their condition with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, careful blood glucose monitoring, and oral diabetes medication insulin injections if needed.

Dramatic Increase in Life Expectancy for Type 1 Diabetics

June 27th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-06-25) -- The life expectancy of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 dramatically increased, compared to people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1964, according to a new study. ... > http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624182309.htm read full article

Dramatic Increase in Life Expectancy for Type 1 Diabetics

June 27th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-06-25) -- The life expectancy of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 dramatically increased, compared to people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1964, according to a new study. ... > http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624182309.htm read full article

Diabetes Discoveries Could Lead to Better Blood Glucose Control

June 30th, 2011

New discoveries in diabetes suggest novel ways to treat, delay the disease

ScienceDaily (2011-06-22) -- A new signal pathway that renders the insulin-releasing beta cell more sensitive to high levels of blood glucose has been discovered by researchers in Sweden. A second new study reveals a possible way to delay the disease by inhibiting a lipoprotein.

A new joint study published in Nature Medicine and conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery and their American colleagues provides new insights into how beta cells react to raised concentrations of blood sugar, which occur, for example, after a meal.

... > read full article

Diabetes Discoveries Could Lead to Better Blood Glucose Control

June 30th, 2011

New discoveries in diabetes suggest novel ways to treat, delay the disease

ScienceDaily (2011-06-22) -- A new signal pathway that renders the insulin-releasing beta cell more sensitive to high levels of blood glucose has been discovered by researchers in Sweden. A second new study reveals a possible way to delay the disease by inhibiting a lipoprotein.

A new joint study published in Nature Medicine and conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery and their American colleagues provides new insights into how beta cells react to raised concentrations of blood sugar, which occur, for example, after a meal.

... > read full article

What is Brittle Diabetes?

July 4th, 2011

Brittle diabetes is an uncontrolled form of type 1, or insulin dependent, diabetes. It's also referred to as uncontrolled or labile (open to change) diabetes. While most diabetics experience some fluctuations in blood sugar, brittle diabetics have dramatic, regular, yet unpredictable swings in glucose levels, even when doing their best to control their condition with insulin injections, exercise and diet.

These wildly fluctuating blood glucose levels can result in either high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • trembling
  • dizziness
  • cold sweats
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • racing or pounding heart
  • irritability
  • confusion

Severe low blood sugar can result in disorientation, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • thirst
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • frequent urination
  • trouble concentrating
  • fatigue

Hyperglycemia is frequently accompanied by ketosis, or elevated levels of ketones. Ketones are compounds caused by the breakdown of fatty acids in the body.

Ketosis is not normal, but it's not necessarily harmful. However extreme ketosis can lead to ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition in which the blood's ph is lowered to very acidic levels. Ketoacidosis can result in a life threatening diabetic coma. One telltale sign of ketoacidosis is a fruity or nail polish remover-like odor on the diabetic's breath (caused by acetone, a byproduct of ketone breakdown).

Luckily, only about 2 percent of diabetics suffer from brittle diabetes. It is most common in young (aged 15 to 30) women, especially overweight women. Brittle diabetes can be caused or made worse by:

  • poor diabetes control (high sugar diet, missing doses of diabetes medication)
  • gastrointestinal absorption problems
  • poor insulin absorption
  • thyroid problems (hypothyroidism)
  • adrenal gland problems
  • drug and alcohol interactions
  • hormonal imbalances
  • stress
  • depression

Brittle diabetes often has to be treated in a hospital, where food intake, insulin injections, and blood sugar levels can be closely controlled and monitored. As there may be a psychological component to brittle diabetes, psychotherapy is helpful in some cases.

What is Brittle Diabetes?

July 4th, 2011

Brittle diabetes is an uncontrolled form of type 1, or insulin dependent, diabetes. It's also referred to as uncontrolled or labile (open to change) diabetes. While most diabetics experience some fluctuations in blood sugar, brittle diabetics have dramatic, regular, yet unpredictable swings in glucose levels, even when doing their best to control their condition with insulin injections, exercise and diet.

These wildly fluctuating blood glucose levels can result in either high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • trembling
  • dizziness
  • cold sweats
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • racing or pounding heart
  • irritability
  • confusion

Severe low blood sugar can result in disorientation, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • thirst
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • frequent urination
  • trouble concentrating
  • fatigue

Hyperglycemia is frequently accompanied by ketosis, or elevated levels of ketones. Ketones are compounds caused by the breakdown of fatty acids in the body.

Ketosis is not normal, but it's not necessarily harmful. However extreme ketosis can lead to ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition in which the blood's ph is lowered to very acidic levels. Ketoacidosis can result in a life threatening diabetic coma. One telltale sign of ketoacidosis is a fruity or nail polish remover-like odor on the diabetic's breath (caused by acetone, a byproduct of ketone breakdown).

Luckily, only about 2 percent of diabetics suffer from brittle diabetes. It is most common in young (aged 15 to 30) women, especially overweight women. Brittle diabetes can be caused or made worse by:

  • poor diabetes control (high sugar diet, missing doses of diabetes medication)
  • gastrointestinal absorption problems
  • poor insulin absorption
  • thyroid problems (hypothyroidism)
  • adrenal gland problems
  • drug and alcohol interactions
  • hormonal imbalances
  • stress
  • depression

Brittle diabetes often has to be treated in a hospital, where food intake, insulin injections, and blood sugar levels can be closely controlled and monitored. As there may be a psychological component to brittle diabetes, psychotherapy is helpful in some cases.

Thirty Seven Strawberries a Day Keep the Doctor Away

July 5th, 2011

A flavonoid called fisetin, found in abundance in strawberries, has been found to lessen complications of diabetes in mice. Fisetin is a neuroprotective flavonoid that can target multiple organs, suggesting that a single natural remedy could be developed to address numerous diabetes complications.

But obtaining a protective patent to bring a natural product like fisetin to market is difficult, meaning further research is stalled until researchers can find someone willing to support a clinical trial. Read more about the benefits of strawberries and the recent research on fisetin and diabetic complications on Diabetic Live.

Thirty Seven Strawberries a Day Keep the Doctor Away

July 5th, 2011

A flavonoid called fisetin, found in abundance in strawberries, has been found to lessen complications of diabetes in mice. Fisetin is a neuroprotective flavonoid that can target multiple organs, suggesting that a single natural remedy could be developed to address numerous diabetes complications.

But obtaining a protective patent to bring a natural product like fisetin to market is difficult, meaning further research is stalled until researchers can find someone willing to support a clinical trial. Read more about the benefits of strawberries and the recent research on fisetin and diabetic complications on Diabetic Live.

More Progress Made Towards the Development of an Artificial Pancreas

July 7th, 2011

Researchers are continuing to make progress in the development of an artificial pancreas for insulin dependent type 1 diabetics. An artificial pancreas is an automated, closed-loop system consisting of a continuous glucose monitor, a glucose meter to calibrate the monitor, and an insulin pump.

With the help of a sophisticated computer system, an artificial pancreas produces insulin and controls blood sugar in a diabetic much as a normal pancreas does in a person without diabetes. The sophisticated system senses when the body needs insulin, calculates the dose needed, and delivers automatically, eliminating the need for insulin injections.

To read more about several recent advances towards the development of an artificial pancreas on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

American Diabetes Association Releases Diabetes 24/7

July 14th, 2011

The American Diabetes Association has released new software to help diabetics enhance their diabetes control. The online tool, called Diabetes 24/7, is a personal health record which allows diabetics to store and track relevant medical information such as glucose readings, diabetes medications and test results. Healthcare providers such as doctors, pharmacies, laboratories and clinics can also access the information, with the patient's permission.

Diabetes 24/7 is designed to integrate with the free Microsoft program Health Vault, where the information is securely stored. Health Vault provides users with an easily accessible place to import, organize and share important healthcare records and information, all under the user's control. The site also offers a variety of online health management tools.

To learn more about Diabetes 24/7 on the American Diabetes Association website, >CLICK HERE<.

American Diabetes Association Releases Diabetes 24/7

July 14th, 2011

The American Diabetes Association has released new software to help diabetics enhance their diabetes control. The online tool, called Diabetes 24/7, is a personal health record which allows diabetics to store and track relevant medical information such as glucose readings, diabetes medications and test results. Healthcare providers such as doctors, pharmacies, laboratories and clinics can also access the information, with the patient's permission.

Diabetes 24/7 is designed to integrate with the free Microsoft program Health Vault, where the information is securely stored. Health Vault provides users with an easily accessible place to import, organize and share important healthcare records and information, all under the user's control. The site also offers a variety of online health management tools.

To learn more about Diabetes 24/7 on the American Diabetes Association website, >CLICK HERE<.

Stem Cell "Memory" Can Boost Insulin Levels

July 15th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-07-14) -- Scientist have now derived embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells that appear to retain their effectiveness in producing insulin in the human body. This research may promise a new avenue of treatment that avoids costly and dangerous pancreas transplants.

Stem cells from early embryos can be coaxed into becoming a diverse array of specialized cells to revive and repair different areas of the body. Therapies based on these stem cells have long been contemplated for the treatment of diabetes, but have been held back by medical and ethical drawbacks.

Read full article...

Stem Cell "Memory" Can Boost Insulin Levels

July 15th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-07-14) -- Scientist have now derived embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells that appear to retain their effectiveness in producing insulin in the human body. This research may promise a new avenue of treatment that avoids costly and dangerous pancreas transplants.

Stem cells from early embryos can be coaxed into becoming a diverse array of specialized cells to revive and repair different areas of the body. Therapies based on these stem cells have long been contemplated for the treatment of diabetes, but have been held back by medical and ethical drawbacks.

Read full article...

Diabetes and Gastroparesis: A Vicious Cycle

July 18th, 2011

Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying. That's because years of high blood glucose damage the vagus nerve, which controls the movement of food from the stomach through the digestive tract. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk of gastroparesis.

When the vagus nerve is damaged, food either moves too slowly through the digestive system, or doesn't move at all. As a result, people with gastroparesis often feel bloated, feel full after eating a small amount, and may experience heartburn, stomach and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and acid reflux.

Gastroparesis is a vicious cycle for a diabetic. Not only does uncontrolled blood sugar lead to gastroparesis, gastroparesis leads to poor blood sugar control due to the irregular passage of food through the digestive system. When food is finally absorbed, blood sugar levels may rise unexpectedly.

Diabetics with gastroparesis must check their blood glucose regularly. They may need to adjust their insulin therapy by changing their insulin dose, the type of insulin they take, or the time of day they take it.

Gastroparesis Diagnosis

Gastroparesis can be difficult to diagnose because of the wide range of both type and severity of symptoms. The condition is usually confirmed with stomach x-rays, a manometer (a device that measures pressure and muscle movements), and gastric emptying scans.

Until recently, those undergoing gastric emptying scans were given egg meal mixed with a radioactive isotope to allow tracking of the stomach contents using radioactivity detectors - a process called radiolabeling. This posed a problem for those patients who were allergic to eggs, or couldn't eat them for religious or lifestyle reasons.

Recently, nuclear medicine researchers discovered a way to incorporate the isotopes into instant oatmeal instead of egg meal. Radiolabeling using both regular and gluten free oatmeal proved just as effective for the molecular imaging of gastric emptying as the tests using standard egg meal.

Gastroparesis Treatment

Gastroparesis is almost always a chronic condition. It can be treated, but rarely cured. There are two main treatment goals for diabetics with gastroparesis - to improve stomach emptying, and to control blood sugar levels.

Patients are advised to avoid high fat and high fiber foods, to eat frequent small meals for easier digestion, and in some cases to eat only pureed or liquid meals until their symptoms improve.

If dietary changes alone don't help, the next line of treatment in the US is usually prescription metoclopramide to treat nausea and vomiting, and to facilitate gastric emptying. Due to the risk of side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, weakness and irreversible movement disorders, it is only approved for short-term treatment. The risk of developing a permanent movement disorder (tardive dyskinesia) is higher for people with diabetes.

Less frequently, the antibiotic erythromycin is prescribed to speed up stomach emptying. Like metoclopramide, it can have serious side effects, and can worsen symptoms like nausea.

Prescription domperidone (Motilium) is the preferred treatment in most countries, and has been for many years. Domperidone both aids gastric emptying and eases gastroparesis symptoms. Side effects of domperidone are less serious, and tend to disappear as the body adjusts to the medication.

But, despite numerous US clinical trials that established its safety and effectiveness, and the fact its own division of gastrointestinal drugs approved the use of domperidone, the FDA has still not given domperidone for gastroparesis the green light.

However, the FDA is encouraging doctors who would like to prescribe domperidone to patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders to make an Investigational New Drug application, which would allow them to purchase domperidone and administer it to their patients.

In the meantime, the fight for domperidone FDA approval continues. The Gastroparesis Patient Association is circulating an online petition to urge the FDA to review its decision on domperidone medication.

Diabetes and Gastroparesis: A Vicious Cycle

July 18th, 2011

Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying. That's because years of high blood glucose damage the vagus nerve, which controls the movement of food from the stomach through the digestive tract. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk of gastroparesis.

When the vagus nerve is damaged, food either moves too slowly through the digestive system, or doesn't move at all. As a result, people with gastroparesis often feel bloated, feel full after eating a small amount, and may experience heartburn, stomach and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and acid reflux.

Gastroparesis is a vicious cycle for a diabetic. Not only does uncontrolled blood sugar lead to gastroparesis, gastroparesis leads to poor blood sugar control due to the irregular passage of food through the digestive system. When food is finally absorbed, blood sugar levels may rise unexpectedly.

Diabetics with gastroparesis must check their blood glucose regularly. They may need to adjust their insulin therapy by changing their insulin dose, the type of insulin they take, or the time of day they take it.

Gastroparesis Diagnosis

Gastroparesis can be difficult to diagnose because of the wide range of both type and severity of symptoms. The condition is usually confirmed with stomach x-rays, a manometer (a device that measures pressure and muscle movements), and gastric emptying scans.

Until recently, those undergoing gastric emptying scans were given egg meal mixed with a radioactive isotope to allow tracking of the stomach contents using radioactivity detectors - a process called radiolabeling. This posed a problem for those patients who were allergic to eggs, or couldn't eat them for religious or lifestyle reasons.

Recently, nuclear medicine researchers discovered a way to incorporate the isotopes into instant oatmeal instead of egg meal. Radiolabeling using both regular and gluten free oatmeal proved just as effective for the molecular imaging of gastric emptying as the tests using standard egg meal.

Gastroparesis Treatment

Gastroparesis is almost always a chronic condition. It can be treated, but rarely cured. There are two main treatment goals for diabetics with gastroparesis - to improve stomach emptying, and to control blood sugar levels.

Patients are advised to avoid high fat and high fiber foods, to eat frequent small meals for easier digestion, and in some cases to eat only pureed or liquid meals until their symptoms improve.

If dietary changes alone don't help, the next line of treatment in the US is usually prescription metoclopramide to treat nausea and vomiting, and to facilitate gastric emptying. Due to the risk of side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, weakness and irreversible movement disorders, it is only approved for short-term treatment. The risk of developing a permanent movement disorder (tardive dyskinesia) is higher for people with diabetes.

Less frequently, the antibiotic erythromycin is prescribed to speed up stomach emptying. Like metoclopramide, it can have serious side effects, and can worsen symptoms like nausea.

Prescription domperidone (Motilium) is the preferred treatment in most countries, and has been for many years. Domperidone both aids gastric emptying and eases gastroparesis symptoms. Side effects of domperidone are less serious, and tend to disappear as the body adjusts to the medication.

But, despite numerous US clinical trials that established its safety and effectiveness, and the fact its own division of gastrointestinal drugs approved the use of domperidone, the FDA has still not given domperidone for gastroparesis the green light.

However, the FDA is encouraging doctors who would like to prescribe domperidone to patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders to make an Investigational New Drug application, which would allow them to purchase domperidone and administer it to their patients.

In the meantime, the fight for domperidone FDA approval continues. The Gastroparesis Patient Association is circulating an online petition to urge the FDA to review its decision on domperidone medication.

Paxil and Pravachol Taken Together Have Unexpected Effect on Blood Sugar

July 25th, 2011

Analysis of an FDA data base has revealed that commonly prescribed depression and high cholesterol drugs may raise blood sugar levels if taken together. This previously undiscovered effect on blood glucose has important implications for diabetics and those at risk of developing diabetes.

The data mining revealed an unexpected spike in blood sugar in patients talking both the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) and the cholesterol drug Pravachol (pravastatin). An estimated up to one million Americans are taking the two drugs, many of them diabetics.

"If a physician has a patient on these [two] medications and their diabetes becomes harder to control, the physician may want to consider changing the medications," said the study's principal investigator, Stanford University professor Dr. Russ Altman.

To read more about the implications of this possibly harmful interaction on glucose metabolism and diabetes control on InformationWeek, >CLICK HERE.<

Paxil and Pravachol Taken Together Have Unexpected Effect on Blood Sugar

July 25th, 2011

Analysis of an FDA data base has revealed that commonly prescribed depression and high cholesterol drugs may raise blood sugar levels if taken together. This previously undiscovered effect on blood glucose has important implications for diabetics and those at risk of developing diabetes.

The data mining revealed an unexpected spike in blood sugar in patients talking both the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) and the cholesterol drug Pravachol (pravastatin). An estimated up to one million Americans are taking the two drugs, many of them diabetics.

"If a physician has a patient on these [two] medications and their diabetes becomes harder to control, the physician may want to consider changing the medications," said the study's principal investigator, Stanford University professor Dr. Russ Altman.

To read more about the implications of this possibly harmful interaction on glucose metabolism and diabetes control on InformationWeek, >CLICK HERE.<

Intensive Glucose Lowering Treatment Can be Risky

July 28th, 2011

glucose monitor

According to a HealthDay News article, intensive glucose-lowering treatment for people with type 2 diabetes doesn't reduce the risk of cardiovascular-related death, and doctors need to be cautious about prescribing this type of treatment.

Patients with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Intensive glucose-lowering treatment is widely used for these patients even though previous research hasn't shown any clear benefits, researchers pointed out in a report published in a recent online edition of the British Medical Journal.

Catherine Cornu, a research physician at the Clinical Investigation Centre, Louis Pradel Hospital in Bron, France, and colleagues reviewed 13 studies that included a total of 34,533 diabetes patients -- 18,315 who underwent intensive glucose-lowering treatment and 16,218 who received standard treatment.

To read the full article on HealthDay News, >CLICK HERE.<

Diabetic Kidney Disease Reversed by Ketogenic Diet

July 29th, 2011

Researchers have for the first time determined that the ketogenic diet, a specialized high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They also identified a previously unreported panel of genes associated with diabetes-related kidney failure, whose expression was reversed by the diet.

The study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes, a finding with significant implications for the tens of thousands of Americans diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease. To read more about this promising new diabetes dietonline at Science Daily, >CLICK HERE<

Helping Friends to Understand Diabetes

August 4th, 2011

explaining insulin dependent diabetes

About.com Diabetes Guide Gary Gilles has written an excellent post titled Helping Friends to Understand Diabetes - Answers to 9 Common Questions. The post is aimed at insulin dependent type 1 diabetics, and tackles common myths and questions about blood glucose testing, insulin injections, diabetes and diet, and episodes of low blood sugar.

The post begins with:

Educating friends about your type 1 diabetes can be challenging. Many myths still exist about diabetes and you can do yourself a big favor by trying to replace those myths with accurate information. Here are nine of the most common questions your friends might be thinking and how to answer them.

To read the 9 common questions and Gilles helpful suggested answers on About.com, >CLICK HERE.<

Arthritis Drug a Future Diabetes Medication?

August 9th, 2011

A collaborative group of researchers including the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been testing the medication abatacept (CTLA4 immunoglobin fusion protein) as a possible treatment for type 1 diabetes. Abatacept, better known by its brand name Orencia, is FDA approved to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which T-cells in the body's immune system mistakenly attack the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. With the pancreas producing little or no insulin, type 1 diabetics must rely on insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. Those type 1 diabetes who continue to produce some insulin have an easier time keeping their blood sugar in the normal range, and have less risk of diabetes complications.

Abatacept blocks the activation of the immune system's aggressive and destructive T-cells. The researchers hoped the medication would protect the remaining beta cells in the pancreas from being destroyed, allowing them to continue to make at least a little of their own insulin.

Researchers recruited 112 newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics aged 6 to 45, all of whom still had some functioning beta cells. Two thirds of the participants were given abatacept intravenously over two years, and one third was given a placebo. The two-year study ended recently, although participants will be followed up for another two years. Initial results are encouraging, with the participants who received the abatacept showing 59% more insulin production than the control group.

"I have spent my career on the quest to find a treatment and cure for type 1 diabetes, and thus it was very gratifying when we unblinded the clinical results and discovered that abatacept had benefit," said principle investigator Dr. Tihamer Orban. "From my experience though," he cautioned, "abatacept is not likely to be the complete answer, and type 1 diabetes patients will likely benefit from cocktail combinations with other drugs. This synergistic approach has a great future."

Orban's is the CEO of the clinical stage biotechnology company, Orban Biotech. Orban Biotech has launched a pre-clinical study evaluating the combination of abatacept with the company's antigen-based therapy insulin B chain vaccine. The vaccine, which is entering into a Phase II trial, is designed to arrest the autoimmune response and re-establish tolerance towards insulin, preserving the body's own insulin production.

This study is one of several which show promise of novel ways to improve diabetes control, and perhaps free insulin dependent diabetics from the need for frequent insulin injections and other diabetes medication.

Arthritis Drug a Future Diabetes Medication?

August 9th, 2011

A collaborative group of researchers including the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been testing the medication abatacept (CTLA4 immunoglobin fusion protein) as a possible treatment for type 1 diabetes. Abatacept, better known by its brand name Orencia, is FDA approved to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which T-cells in the body's immune system mistakenly attack the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. With the pancreas producing little or no insulin, type 1 diabetics must rely on insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. Those type 1 diabetes who continue to produce some insulin have an easier time keeping their blood sugar in the normal range, and have less risk of diabetes complications.

Abatacept blocks the activation of the immune system's aggressive and destructive T-cells. The researchers hoped the medication would protect the remaining beta cells in the pancreas from being destroyed, allowing them to continue to make at least a little of their own insulin.

Researchers recruited 112 newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics aged 6 to 45, all of whom still had some functioning beta cells. Two thirds of the participants were given abatacept intravenously over two years, and one third was given a placebo. The two-year study ended recently, although participants will be followed up for another two years. Initial results are encouraging, with the participants who received the abatacept showing 59% more insulin production than the control group.

"I have spent my career on the quest to find a treatment and cure for type 1 diabetes, and thus it was very gratifying when we unblinded the clinical results and discovered that abatacept had benefit," said principle investigator Dr. Tihamer Orban. "From my experience though," he cautioned, "abatacept is not likely to be the complete answer, and type 1 diabetes patients will likely benefit from cocktail combinations with other drugs. This synergistic approach has a great future."

Orban's is the CEO of the clinical stage biotechnology company, Orban Biotech. Orban Biotech has launched a pre-clinical study evaluating the combination of abatacept with the company's antigen-based therapy insulin B chain vaccine. The vaccine, which is entering into a Phase II trial, is designed to arrest the autoimmune response and re-establish tolerance towards insulin, preserving the body's own insulin production.

This study is one of several which show promise of novel ways to improve diabetes control, and perhaps free insulin dependent diabetics from the need for frequent insulin injections and other diabetes medication.

Swamp Gas Plays a Role in Diabetes Control

August 9th, 2011

The last decade has been an exciting time in diabetes research, with scientists approaching diabetes control from many different angles. Enter hydrogen sulfide, the foul smelling gas better known as "swamp gas". It turns out the sewer-scented compound, a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies, may play an important role in protecting blood vessels from diabetic complications.

In a finding that they say "may open the door for new therapies", researchers discovered that providing cells with high levels of hydrogen sulfide protected them against the toxic effects of sugar.

To read the full story on diabeticlive.com, a news publication focused on the latest research in diabetes drugs, diets, and medical advances, >CLICK HERE.<

Swamp Gas Plays a Role in Diabetes Control

August 9th, 2011

The last decade has been an exciting time in diabetes research, with scientists approaching diabetes control from many different angles. Enter hydrogen sulfide, the foul smelling gas better known as "swamp gas". It turns out the sewer-scented compound, a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies, may play an important role in protecting blood vessels from diabetic complications.

In a finding that they say "may open the door for new therapies", researchers discovered that providing cells with high levels of hydrogen sulfide protected them against the toxic effects of sugar.

To read the full story on diabeticlive.com, a news publication focused on the latest research in diabetes drugs, diets, and medical advances, >CLICK HERE.<

New Protein May Help Treat Diabetes and Obesity

August 10th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-08-09) -- A newly-identified protein may hold the key to keeping appetite and blood sugar in check, according to a new study. Researchers found that rats administered with nesfatin-1 ate less, used more stored fat and became more active. In addition, the protein stimulated insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta cells of both rats and mice.

"[The rats] actually ate more frequently but in lesser amounts," says Unniappan, a member of York's neuroscience graduate diploma program, and a recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award. "In addition, they were more active and we found that their fatty acid oxidization was increased. In other words, the energy reserve being preferably used during nesfatin-1 treatment was fat. This suggests more fat loss, which could eventually result in body weight loss," he says. read full article...

Diabetics May Be Wasting Billions on Unnecessary Medication

August 11th, 2011

Type 2 diabetes patients may be wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary medication. Three doctors who recently evaluated the effectiveness of commonly prescribed fibrates in diabetes patients with high cholesterol have said that the drugs have not been proven effective. The doctors, who conducted the research for the FDA, reported their findings in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diabetics are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and fibrates are commonly prescribed along with statins and diabetes medication to lower the risk of heart attacks. The statins and fibrates were thought to work in combination to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol levels.

But, although fibrates such as Tricor (fenofibrate), Lopid (gemfibrozil) and Trilipix (fenofibric acid) are routinely prescribed to diabetics, there have been few studies assessing their effectiveness. "Thousands and thousands of Americans take fibrates every day," said one of the commentary's authors, Dr Sanjay Kaul from the Cedars-Sanai Heart Institute, "But so far there are no long-term studies showing that fibrates lower cardiovascular risk or improve survival among diabetes patients who are also on statins."

The commentary authors are calling for more studies, and recommending doctors only prescribe fibrates along with statins to diabetics at high risk of heart attack, and only after they have achieved healthy LDL levels.

While no diabetic should adjust their diabetes medication without consulting their physician, many type 2 diabetics may be able to lower the cost of their diabetes medicine without affecting their diabetes control based on this new recommendation.

Diabetics May Be Wasting Billions on Unnecessary Medication

August 11th, 2011

Type 2 diabetes patients may be wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary medication. Three doctors who recently evaluated the effectiveness of commonly prescribed fibrates in diabetes patients with high cholesterol have said that the drugs have not been proven effective. The doctors, who conducted the research for the FDA, reported their findings in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diabetics are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and fibrates are commonly prescribed along with statins and diabetes medication to lower the risk of heart attacks. The statins and fibrates were thought to work in combination to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol levels.

But, although fibrates such as Tricor (fenofibrate), Lopid (gemfibrozil) and Trilipix (fenofibric acid) are routinely prescribed to diabetics, there have been few studies assessing their effectiveness. "Thousands and thousands of Americans take fibrates every day," said one of the commentary's authors, Dr Sanjay Kaul from the Cedars-Sanai Heart Institute, "But so far there are no long-term studies showing that fibrates lower cardiovascular risk or improve survival among diabetes patients who are also on statins."

The commentary authors are calling for more studies, and recommending doctors only prescribe fibrates along with statins to diabetics at high risk of heart attack, and only after they have achieved healthy LDL levels.

While no diabetic should adjust their diabetes medication without consulting their physician, many type 2 diabetics may be able to lower the cost of their diabetes medicine without affecting their diabetes control based on this new recommendation.

Mealtime Insulin Injections May be Replaced by an Insulin Inhaler

August 12th, 2011

There's good news for insulin dependent diabetics who rely on fast-acting mealtime insulin injections to keep their blood sugar under control. MannKind Corporation has the go-ahead to continue clinical testing of its investigational inhaled insulin, AFREZZA. The drug maker and the FDA met to confirm the protocols for two new studies, one in type 1 diabetics, and one in type 2 diabetics.

AFREZZA is an ultra-rapid acting inhaled insulin which uses patented technology to deliver powdered insulin from a thumb-sized device into the lungs. The lungs are an effective option for delivering diabetes medication, largely because of their huge surface area (about the size of a tennis court).MannKind focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Now in late stage clinical investigation, AFREEZA is its lead product candidate. Shares of the company jumped 20% at the news that the design of the follow-up clinical trials had been confirmed.

MannKind has been seeking approval for its new generation diabetes medication since March of 2009, but was asked twice to run additional clinical trials in order to provide the FDA with more information. One of the approval delays was due to the drug maker updating the design of its insulin inhaler after applying for approval of the earlier design. The FDA was concerned that there was not enough data to support a switch to the new generation device, and asked that both models be tested together.

Clinical trials of the initial design of the insulin inhaler were promising. Participants reported being pleased with the innovative insulin delivery device, and experienced less hypoglycemia and weight gain than did controls using a standard combination of long-acting insulin glargine and twice a day 70 30 insulin injections.

Insulin can't be taken orally, as digestive juices break it down before it can be used by the body. Currently, the only means of delivering insulin are subcutaneous insulin injections or intravenously. Because AFREEZA is a short-acting mealtime insulin, type 1 diabetics will need to combine it with long-acting insulin injections for complete diabetes control.

Dr. Larry Deeb, a pediatric endocrinologist from the University of Florida College of Medicine, says that failure to comply with regular insulin dosing is one of the major issues in diabetes, often because of the discomfort and inconvenience of insulin injections. Deeb says that finding an alternative insulin delivery method is crucial, especially for children and the needle-phobic.

Should it be approved, AFREEZA would be the second inhaled insulin to hit the market. Pfizer received approval to market a similar product, Exubera, several years ago, but, surprisingly, the product never caught on with diabetics, and was withdrawn from the market a year later.

AFREZZA is easier to use, faster acting and boasts better bioavailability than Exubera, enabling diabetics to achieve more satisfactory insulin levels using smaller amounts. Despite Exubera's unexpected failure, AFREEZA is expected to be a blockbuster diabetes drug when it becomes available.

Mealtime Insulin Injections May be Replaced by an Insulin Inhaler

August 12th, 2011

There's good news for insulin dependent diabetics who rely on fast-acting mealtime insulin injections to keep their blood sugar under control. MannKind Corporation has the go-ahead to continue clinical testing of its investigational inhaled insulin, AFREZZA. The drug maker and the FDA met to confirm the protocols for two new studies, one in type 1 diabetics, and one in type 2 diabetics.

AFREZZA is an ultra-rapid acting inhaled insulin which uses patented technology to deliver powdered insulin from a thumb-sized device into the lungs. The lungs are an effective option for delivering diabetes medication, largely because of their huge surface area (about the size of a tennis court).MannKind focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Now in late stage clinical investigation, AFREEZA is its lead product candidate. Shares of the company jumped 20% at the news that the design of the follow-up clinical trials had been confirmed.

MannKind has been seeking approval for its new generation diabetes medication since March of 2009, but was asked twice to run additional clinical trials in order to provide the FDA with more information. One of the approval delays was due to the drug maker updating the design of its insulin inhaler after applying for approval of the earlier design. The FDA was concerned that there was not enough data to support a switch to the new generation device, and asked that both models be tested together.

Clinical trials of the initial design of the insulin inhaler were promising. Participants reported being pleased with the innovative insulin delivery device, and experienced less hypoglycemia and weight gain than did controls using a standard combination of long-acting insulin glargine and twice a day 70 30 insulin injections.

Insulin can't be taken orally, as digestive juices break it down before it can be used by the body. Currently, the only means of delivering insulin are subcutaneous insulin injections or intravenously. Because AFREEZA is a short-acting mealtime insulin, type 1 diabetics will need to combine it with long-acting insulin injections for complete diabetes control.

Dr. Larry Deeb, a pediatric endocrinologist from the University of Florida College of Medicine, says that failure to comply with regular insulin dosing is one of the major issues in diabetes, often because of the discomfort and inconvenience of insulin injections. Deeb says that finding an alternative insulin delivery method is crucial, especially for children and the needle-phobic.

Should it be approved, AFREEZA would be the second inhaled insulin to hit the market. Pfizer received approval to market a similar product, Exubera, several years ago, but, surprisingly, the product never caught on with diabetics, and was withdrawn from the market a year later.

AFREZZA is easier to use, faster acting and boasts better bioavailability than Exubera, enabling diabetics to achieve more satisfactory insulin levels using smaller amounts. Despite Exubera's unexpected failure, AFREEZA is expected to be a blockbuster diabetes drug when it becomes available.

New Class of Injectable Diabetes Medication for Type 2 Diabetics

August 16th, 2011

Liraglutide, marketed as Victoza, is a new approach to blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Although it is an injectable diabetes medication, it is not insulin, does not contain insulin, and is not taken with insulin. Victoza is not used to treat insulin dependent type 1 diabetes (although there has been a successful clinical trial using the diabetes drug along with insulin injections).

In type 2 diabetes, by far the most common form of the disease, the body either doesn't make enough insulin, or can not properly respond to the insulin it does make. Insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas. As type 2 diabetes progresses, beta cells stop working and die off, and even less insulin is produced. Victoza helps the beta cells in the pancreas make and release insulin.

Liraglutide belongs to a new class of diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics GLP-1 analogues. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that signals the pancreas to release insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. The hormone also prevents the liver from releasing too much sugar, and slows gastric emptying to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Liraglutide is almost identical (97%) to the GLP-1 hormone. Like GLP-1, Victoza makes more insulin available in your blood, and helps to lower your blood sugar levels. It is taken once a day as an injection, alone or in combination with another diabetes medication such as metformin.

Victoza is injected using a dial-a-dose injection pen, much like the long acting insulin Lantus SoloSTAR. The pen uses extremely short, thin (30 or 32 gauge) disposable needles. Victoza is injected into the fat under the skin with the push of a button on the top of the pen. After injection, it is slowly dispersed into the body. It can be taken with or without food and, unlike insulin injections, the dose does not need to be adjusted based on food intake or activity levels.

The FDA approved Victoza in early 2010, with a black box warning that it should only be prescribed to patients in which the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. The black box warning stems largely from animal studies in which high doses of liraglutide appeared associated with thyroid tumors (including cancer) in mice. The FDA has ordered Victoza's manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, to conduct ongoing testing and monitoring, including a 15-year cancer registry.

Liraglutide is not recommended as a first-line diabetes medication. As with all diabetes drugs, Victoza should be used in combination with diet and exercise. Victoza can not be taken by people with certain medical conditions, including gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) and has not been tested in children. The most common Victoza side effects are nausea, headache and diarrhea.

Novo Nordisk has focused a great deal of its marketing campaign on the fact that most type 2 diabetics taking liraglutide lose weight. Marketing of the diabetes drug got off to a rocky start in Britain, when Novo Nordisk breached the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's code of contact by promoting it before it was approved, and not providing information about Victoza side effects.

Exenatide (marketed as prescription Byetta) is another diabetes medication in the new class of incretin mimetics. Byetta, which requires twice a day injections, has similar actions to Victoza. It is not a GLP-1 analogue, but mimics the action of incretin (gastrointestinal) hormones, including GLP-1, to lower blood sugar. Both drugs arrived on the market in the same time frame, sparking a Byetta vs Victoza debate that is still ongoing.

New Class of Injectable Diabetes Medication for Type 2 Diabetics

August 16th, 2011

Liraglutide, marketed as Victoza, is a new approach to blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Although it is an injectable diabetes medication, it is not insulin, does not contain insulin, and is not taken with insulin. Victoza is not used to treat insulin dependent type 1 diabetes (although there has been a successful clinical trial using the diabetes drug along with insulin injections).

In type 2 diabetes, by far the most common form of the disease, the body either doesn't make enough insulin, or can not properly respond to the insulin it does make. Insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas. As type 2 diabetes progresses, beta cells stop working and die off, and even less insulin is produced. Victoza helps the beta cells in the pancreas make and release insulin.

Liraglutide belongs to a new class of diabetes drugs called incretin mimetics GLP-1 analogues. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that signals the pancreas to release insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. The hormone also prevents the liver from releasing too much sugar, and slows gastric emptying to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Liraglutide is almost identical (97%) to the GLP-1 hormone. Like GLP-1, Victoza makes more insulin available in your blood, and helps to lower your blood sugar levels. It is taken once a day as an injection, alone or in combination with another diabetes medication such as metformin.

Victoza is injected using a dial-a-dose injection pen, much like the long acting insulin Lantus SoloSTAR. The pen uses extremely short, thin (30 or 32 gauge) disposable needles. Victoza is injected into the fat under the skin with the push of a button on the top of the pen. After injection, it is slowly dispersed into the body. It can be taken with or without food and, unlike insulin injections, the dose does not need to be adjusted based on food intake or activity levels.

The FDA approved Victoza in early 2010, with a black box warning that it should only be prescribed to patients in which the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. The black box warning stems largely from animal studies in which high doses of liraglutide appeared associated with thyroid tumors (including cancer) in mice. The FDA has ordered Victoza's manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, to conduct ongoing testing and monitoring, including a 15-year cancer registry.

Liraglutide is not recommended as a first-line diabetes medication. As with all diabetes drugs, Victoza should be used in combination with diet and exercise. Victoza can not be taken by people with certain medical conditions, including gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) and has not been tested in children. The most common Victoza side effects are nausea, headache and diarrhea.

Novo Nordisk has focused a great deal of its marketing campaign on the fact that most type 2 diabetics taking liraglutide lose weight. Marketing of the diabetes drug got off to a rocky start in Britain, when Novo Nordisk breached the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's code of contact by promoting it before it was approved, and not providing information about Victoza side effects.

Exenatide (marketed as prescription Byetta) is another diabetes medication in the new class of incretin mimetics. Byetta, which requires twice a day injections, has similar actions to Victoza. It is not a GLP-1 analogue, but mimics the action of incretin (gastrointestinal) hormones, including GLP-1, to lower blood sugar. Both drugs arrived on the market in the same time frame, sparking a Byetta vs Victoza debate that is still ongoing.

Diabetes Videos on WebMD

August 18th, 2011

More and more people are turning to the web for information on health issues, including diabetes. WebMD is one of the most highly respected sources of timely and trusted medical news and information on the web. The site's Health A to Z section includes a comprehensive Diabetes Health Centre sub-section.

Aware that many people prefer to get their information in other ways rather than reading, WebMD has incorporated a number of alternative means of delivering information into their site, including interactive quizzes, tools such as a Food & Fitness Planner, and short documentary-style videos.

The diabetes-related videos feature real people in real life settings - diabetes patients, parents of diabetic children, researchers, and health care professionals. Currently, the site contains sixty diabetes videos on diverse topics, including:

  • Basic diabetes information (type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, diabetes diagnosis, diabetes control, diabetes medication-)

  • Diabetes management (diet, foot care, glucose monitoring, A1C testing, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia-)

  • Diabetes in children (preschool, young children, adolescents-)

  • Insulin delivery methods (insulin pumps, insulin inhalers, islet cells transplant-)

  • Diabetes research and studies (diabetes vaccine, stem cells, investigational diabetes medications, glucose monitoring tattoo, cord blood study-)

  • New diabetes treatments (islet cells transplant, continuous glucose monitors, botox for foot wounds, silicone eye oil for retinopathy-)

  • Alternative diabetes treatment (vinegar for diabetes, antioxidants, hyperbaric oxygen, medicinal properties of kudzu-)

  • Diabetes complications (foot ulcers, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetes and depression, kidney disease-)

Should a topic be of particular interest, every video is surrounded by links to related in-depth information. To view a WebMD Diabetes Health Centre video on a study on the use of vinegar as a diabetes medication >CLICK HERE.<

Security Flaws in Insulin Pump Technology

August 19th, 2011

A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin, a hormone they need for proper metabolism.

Jay Radcliffe, an insulin dependent diabetic who experimented on his own equipment, shared his findings with The Associated Press before releasing them Thursday at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

The full article is published on the News Tribune.

Diabetes Drug Metformin Combined with Exercise Has Surprise Effect on Glucose Control

August 22nd, 2011

It's common enough for researchers to look at the impacts of prescribed drugs on the body. And if you're a diabetes researcher who believes that exercise has great benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, you're hoping your research will show that. But when Normand Boul looked at the dual impacts of exercise and metformin - two of the most commonly-prescribed modalities for glucose control -the hoped-for double whammy wasn't the result.

Researchers looking at the effects of the oral diabetes medication metformin and exercise in Type 2 diabetes patients found that a combination of these modalities didn't lower glucose control as much as hoped. Surprisingly, study participants showed better glucose control when sedentary. Researchers think that because prescription metformin and exercise both act to lower glucose levels, the combination may have triggered a counter regulatory response by the body to prevent glucose levels dipping too much.

Read the full article on ScienceDaily-

How to Give an Insulin Injection

August 29th, 2011

For those newly diagnosed insulin dependent diabetics, or those caring for someone newly diagnosed, WebMD has developed a six-step "Action Set" on giving an insulin injection to your self or to someone else.

The instructional guide, found online in the Diabetes Health Center, starts with basic information on insulin therapy, and then leads into detailed information on preparing an insulin dose and giving an insulin injection. The information links to illustrative slideshows demonstrating the techniques.

>CLICK HERE< to view the Action Set and slideshows on giving an insulin shot on WebMD.

Flying Can Cause Changes in Insulin Pump Performance

August 30th, 2011

Diabeticlive.com is warning insulin dependent diabetes planning to take a plane that changes in cabin air pressure while flying may alter the functioning of insulin pumps. The research arose out of an incident involving a young diabetic traveler using an insulin pump whose blood sugar levels dropped unexpectedly one hour into a flight.

After uncovering reports of similar incidents involving insulin pumps delivering incorrect insulin doses while being used on planes, a team of researchers from John Hunter Children's Hospital in Australia decided to perform some tests.

They placed ten insulin pumps on a commercial flight. When they analyzed them later, they found the pumps delivered 1 to 1.4 extra units of insulin after take-off, and that a small amount of insulin was drawn back into the pumps when descending for a landing.

To read the entire story on diabeticlive.com, including the researchers' suggestions for diabetics with insulin pumps who plan to travel byplane, >CLICK HERE.<

Home Urine Test Measures Insulin Production in Diabetics

August 31st, 2011

A simple home urine test has been developed which can measure if patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are producing their own insulin. The urine test replaces multiple blood tests in hospital and can be sent by mail, as it is stable for up to three days at room temperature. Avoiding blood tests will be a particular advantage for children with diabetes.

The urine test measures if patients are still making their own insulin even if they take insulin injections. Researchers have shown that the test can be used to differentiate Type 1 diabetes from Type 2 diabetes and from rare genetic forms of diabetes.

One woman with a genetic form of diabetes whose urine test revealed that she was still making her own insulin was able to stop taking insulin injections after 14 years of insulin treatment. To read more about this promising home urine test on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Do You Need a Diabetes Emergency Survival Kit?

September 1st, 2011

Essential Preparedness Products (EPP) is marketing an emergency survival kit designed specifically for diabetics. The Diabetic med-Ecase is light weight, watertight, airtight, crush resistant, and will float in water.

The survival kit comes complete with glucose tablets, alcohol swabs, a syringe container, an ice pack, a log book to track insulin injections, diabetes medication bottles and a 7-day pill dispenser. Water purification tablets can be purchased as an add-on..

The rugged yellow case has customized compartments for insulin vials, insulin syringes, insulin pens, blood sugar meters, glucagon, and blood and ketone testing stripes. Users fill them with their own personal diabetes medication and supplies.

EPP focuses on emergency preparedness for those with serious medical conditions, creating customized med-Ecases containing necessary medications and supplies in preparation for an emergency, natural disaster, or just travel. Their Diabetic med-Ecase can be ordered online through the EPP website for $69.99.

Crippling Condition Associated With Diabetes Often Misdiagnosed

September 2nd, 2011

A new article explains symptoms and treatments for Charcot foot, a form of localized osteoporosis linked to diabetes that causes the bones to soften and break, often resulting in amputation.

"Even though it was first described in 1883, the diagnosis and successful treatment of Charcot foot continue to be a challenge because this syndrome is not widely known or understood by the broader medical profession," said Lee C. Rogers, D.P.M., co-director of the Amputation Prevent Center at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, CA.

"Charcot foot is now considered to be an inflammatory syndrome most often seen in patients with diabetes which can be successfully treated in its early stages." To read the full article on this little known diabetes complication on ScienceDaily and to view a picture of this crippling condition, CLICK HERE.

Successful Pilot Study for Implanted Continuous Glucose Monitor

September 13th, 2011

Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.

The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.

The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.

Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. "Based on the promising results obtained," says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, "We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future."

The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.

International Diabetes Federation Releases Startling Statistics

September 15th, 2011

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has just released some startling new figures on the escalating diabetes epidemic. Global studies reveal that a staggering 366 million people across the world are dealing with diabetes. The disease is responsible for 4.6 million deaths a year and related health cares costs have reached $465 billion in US dollars.

"IDF's latest Atlas data are proof indeed that diabetes is a massive challenge the world can no longer afford to ignore", stressed the president of the IDF, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, "In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The clock is ticking for the world's leaders - we expect action from their High-Level Meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upwards trajectory."

The IDF's message to world leaders is that investing in research now will result in savings in the future, reducing the enormous and still growing burden of non-communicable diseases on their health systems. This research should include developing and evaluating approaches for building local health care capacity, as well as integrating diabetes care and services with primary health care services.

The IDF announced the shocking diabetes statistics at the Lisbon meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes,a week ahead of the UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. The hope is that world leaders will finally face up to the challenge posed by diabetes, as well as cancer, heart andchronic respiratorydiseases.

As this will be only the second UN Summit in history to deal with a health-related issue, the global diabetes community is expecting international political leaders to commit to concrete actions and measurable targets to tackle diabetes mellitus and other non-communicable diseases, as they did at the ground-breaking High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2001, said the IDF statement.

Insulin Nasal Spray Tested as an Alzheimer's Treatment

September 16th, 2011

insulin nasal spray

Ateam of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) researchers were intrigued by studies that suggested that low levels of insulin in the brain could contribute to Alzheimer's disease. The researchers, led by Dr. Suzanne Craft, decided to test the benefits of restoring normal insulin levels in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Insulin is an important hormone which plays a major role in turning blood sugar into energy for cells. A lack of insulin, or an inability to properly use it, results in diabetes. Diabetes is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's, although the connection is not yet clear.

Alzheimer's is a disease in which cognitive functioning declines over time, causing progressive memory loss, loss of motor and language skills, impaired reasoning, emotional instability, and eventually full-blown dementia. The disease is associated with abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques.

The VA team used an insulin nasal spray that could deliver insulin rapidly and directly to the brain without increasing insulin levels elsewhere in the body. They recruited 104 adults with mild amnestic cognitive impairment or mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. They divided the participants into three groups, with one group receiving 20 international units (IU) of insulin, one receiving 40 IU, and the third receiving an inactive saline placebo. The insulin dose or placebo was delivered daily through a nasal spray for four months.

Memory, cognition and functioning ability tests were conducted on the participants both before and after the four month period. The patients in the treated groups showed an increase in brain glucose metabolism following insulin therapy. Both insulin doses improved the patients' general cognition and functioning about 20%, and the 20 IU insulin dose also improved memory. The group receiving the placebo showed a slight decline in cognitive abilities. The treatment did not result in any major side effects, although some participants did report a mild headache or a runny nose.

Insulin appears to protect the brain against the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, the protein behind the brain plaques present in Alzheimer's. It also prevents the formation of a toxic form of the protein tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer's found in the cerebrospinal fluid. Insulin also promotes cell repair and growth, which may also help combat degenerative brain disease.

VA Chief Research and Development Officer Dr. Joel Kupersmith says, "VA researchers are exploring a number of possible approaches to help prevent of effectively treat this devastating disease, and these are among the most promising results to date." The research is even more important and encouraging because there is currently no effective treatment to delay or treat Alzheimer's disease.

There are a great many unanswered questions about the connection between insulin and Alzheimer's, and it's still premature to consider insulin a new treatment. Researchers still don't know much of the daily insulin injections required by many diabetics gets into the brain, and what effects it may have in the brain of the average diabetic.

Researchers are calling for further studies to explore the use of insulin to treat Alzheimer's, and to hopefully establish an optimal insulin dosage and dosing schedule. Any treatment which could improve the lives of the estimated 5.4 million Americans that suffer from Alzheimer's and their caregivers can not come soon enough.

Diabetic Emergency: Treating Hypoglycemia with Glucagon

September 19th, 2011

glucagon kit

Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. But the two hormones have opposite effects - insulin lowers blood sugar, while glucagon raises it. This means glucagon can be used to treat an episode of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in diabetics.

Severe hypoglycemia is rare in most insulin dependent diabetics, but can cause a loss of consciousness and should be considered a medical emergency. Type 1 diabetics are advised to have a glucagon kit on or near them at all times, as are the parents and caregivers of children with diabetes.

About.com diabetes coach Gary Gilles has written a valuable guide to treating severe low blood sugar with glucagon, describing when and how glucagon should be used. Glucagon is administered as an injection, but unlike an insulin injection, it should be injected deep into the muscle.

To read Gilles' article on About.com, >Click Here.<

Overcoming Injection Anxiety

September 20th, 2011

Have you or someone close to you been newly diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic? Are you anxious about giving yourself or your dependent insulin injections? Many diabetics say that giving themselves an insulin injection is the hardest part of the condition.

Or perhaps you're an experienced diabetic who hasn't kept up to date on the latest insulin delivery methods like spring loaded syringes, insulin pens and insulin jet injectors. Skipping doses of diabetes medication can lead to poor blood sugar control and diabetes complications. WebMD feature writer Stephanie Watson offers some practical advice in an article titled Overcoming Objections to Injections.

Novo Nordisk Files for Approval of Ultra Long Acting Insulin

October 5th, 2011

Insulin

Novo Nordisk today announced the submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of two new drug applications for ultra-long-acting insulin degludec and the co-formulation, insulin degludec/insulin aspart. These insulin analogs have been developed for the treatment of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

"We are very excited about being able to file for the approval of insulin degludec and insulin degludec/insulin aspart now also in the US," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Novo Nordisk. "This is another significant milestone for Novo Nordisk and for the millions of people with diabetes who require insulin injections."

As with the European applications submitted on September 26, the U.S. filings are based on results from the BEGIN and BOOST clinical trial programs, which involved nearly 10,000 type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Data from the trials have shown insulin degludec to lower blood glucose levels, while demonstrating a low rate of hypoglycemia, especially at night.

The trials also showed that insulin degludec can be administered once daily at any time of the day with the possibility to change the insulin injection time from day to day according to the needs of the individual patient.

Novo Nordisk intends to make both diabetes medications available in a prefilled insulin delivery device. In the clinical trials, insulin degludec was studied in insulin pens that could either deliver up to 80 units or in a concentrated formulation up to 160 units in a single injection.

Insulin degludec is an ultra-long-acting basal insulin analog discovered and developed by Novo Nordisk. It forms multi-hexamers upon subcutaneous injection, resulting in a soluble depot from which there is a slow, continuous and extended release of insulin degludec. This may contribute to a lowering of blood glucose levels and low rates of hypoglycemia, especially at night.

Insulin degludec/insulin aspart contains the ultra-long-acting basal insulin degludec with a bolus boost of insulin aspart. Insulin degludec/insulin aspart is the first and only soluble insulin co-formulation of ultra-long-acting insulin degludec and insulin aspart providing both fasting and post-prandial control.

Should You Take a "Vacation" From Your Insulin Pump?

October 6th, 2011

insulin syringe

A veteran insulin pump user wrote a thought-provoking post for HealthCentral.com about "taking a vacation" from insulin pumping. It begins:

By Kelsey Bonilia

"One of the ideas I'd been mulling over in the weeks leading up to my endocrinologist appointment was taking a pump vacation.I'd experienced several frustrating pump site malfunctions (the cannula kept kinking during insertion) that left me with stubbornly high blood sugars for hours.It was maddening to have poor blood sugar control because of my insulin delivery system.Also, after nearly five years of insulin pumping, I just wanted the freedom of life without a little medical device tethered to me.

Upon discussion with my doctor, I made the comment "I know that the pump is best..." to which he replied, "For some people, but it's not inherently better." He knows that I eat a fairly disciplined diet and still test my blood sugar 10-12 times a day, so he agreed that switching to insulin injections would be fine for me. He prescribed Humalog and Lantus insulin pens, which I'd never used before.It was kind of exciting to open the boxes of pens and learn how to use a new device!"

Kelsey plans to update the pros and cons of switching to insulin injections after using an insulin pump for almost five years. To read this and future posts on HealthCentral.com, >Click Here.<

FDA Approves First Combo Drug for Diabetes And High Cholesterol

October 7th, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Juvisync (sitagliptin and simvastatin), a fixed-dose combination (FDC) prescription medication that contains two previously approved medicines in one tablet for use in adults who need both sitagliptin and simvastatin.

About 20 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, and they often have high cholesterol levels as well. These conditions can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness, among other chronic conditions, particularly if left untreated or poorly treated.

Sitagliptin is a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor that enhances the body's own ability to lower elevated blood sugar and is approved for use in combination with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Simvastatin is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin, approved for use with diet and exercise to reduce the amount of "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-C) in the blood.

"This is the first product to combine a type 2 diabetes drug with a cholesterol lowering drug in one tablet," said Mary H. Parks, M.D., director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "However, to ensure safe and effective use of this product, tablets containing different doses of sitagliptin and simvastatin in fixed-dose combination have been developed to meet the different needs of individual patients. Dose selection should factor in what other drugs the patient is taking."

This FDC is based on substantial experience with both sitagliptin and simvastatin, and the ability of the single tablet to deliver similar amounts of the drugs to the bloodstream as when sitagliptin and simvastatin are taken separately. Juvisync is a convenience combination and should only be prescribed when it is appropriate for a patient to be placed on both of these drugs.

Juvisync was approved in dosage strengths for sitagliptin/simvastatin of 100 mg/10 mg, 100 mg/20 mg and 100 mg/40 mg. The company has committed to develop FDC tablets with the sitagliptin 50 mg dose, as Juvisync 50 mg/10 mg, 50 mg/20 mg and 50 mg/40 mg. Pending availability of the FDC tablets containing 50 mg of sitagliptin, patients who require this dose should continue to use the single ingredient sitagliptin tablet. There is no plan to develop FDCs with the sitagliptin 25 mg dose as use of this dose is quite low.

Simvastatin is currently marketed in dosage strengths of 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg. Due to recent restrictions placed on the use of the 80 mg dose because of a higher risk of muscle toxicity, there will not be a FDC using this dose. There is also no plan to develop FDCs with the simvastatin 5 mg dose as use of this dose is quite low as well.

The FDA has recently become aware of the potential for statins to increase blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. This risk appears very small and is outweighed by the benefits of statins for reducing heart disease in diabetes. However, the prescribing information for Juvisync will inform doctors of this possible side effect. The company will also be required to conduct a post-marketing clinical trial comparing the glucose lowering ability of sitagliptin alone compared to sitagliptin given with simvastatin.

Juvisync is approved with a Medication Guide that provides important information to patients. The most common side effects of Juvisync include upper respiratory infection; stuffy or runny nose and sore throat; headache; muscle and stomach pain; constipation; and nausea. Juvisync is manufactured by MSD International GmbH Clonmel, Co. in Tipperary, Ireland.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Decade of Research Results in Discovery of a Diabetes Gene

October 11th, 2011

MADISON - Ten years of meticulous mouse breeding, screening, and record-keeping have finally paid off for Alan Attie and his lab members. The University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers' efforts, published Oct. 6 in the journal PLoS Genetics, pinpointed a gene that confers diabetes susceptibility in obese mice.

They also showed that the protein coded by the gene, called tomosyn-2, acts as a brake on insulin secretion from the pancreas. "It's too early for us to know how relevant this gene will be to human diabetes," says Attie, a UW-Madison biochemistry professor, "but the concept of negative regulation is one of the most interesting things to come out of this study and that very likely applies to humans."

In a properly tuned system, insulin secreted into the blood after eating helps maintain blood sugar at a safe level. Too little insulin (as in type 1 diabetes) or insulin resistance (as in type 2 diabetes) leads to high blood sugar and diabetic symptoms. Too much insulin can drive blood glucose dangerously low and lead to coma or even death in a matter of minutes.

"You can imagine that if you're in a fasted state, you don't want to increase your insulin, so it's very important to have a brake on insulin secretion," says Angie Oler, one of the lead authors. "It needs to be stopped when you're not eating and it needs to start again when you do eat."

The group honed in on tomosyn-2 while searching for genes that contribute to diabetes susceptibility in obese animals. Why study fat mice? To read the entire Press Release on FierceBiotech, >Click Here.<

Diabetes Drug Byetta Approved as Add-On to Long Acting Insulin

October 20th, 2011

The US.Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly's BYETTA injection. BYETTA is now approved as an add-on therapy to insulin glargine, with or without metformin and/or a thiazolidinedione (TZD). It should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise for adults with type 2 diabetes who are not achieving adequate glycemic control on insulin glargine alone.

"This expanded use for BYETTA is important for clinical care, in that it provides a new option for the many patients with type 2 diabetes who are not achieving treatment goals," said John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, director of the Diabetes Care Center and chief of the Division of Endocrinology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

"BYETTA is well-suited for use with insulin glargine, offering a simple fixed-dose regimen that can help improve control of blood sugar overall and after meals. In a clinical trial, patients using BYETTA with insulin glargine achieved better glycemic control, without weight gain or an increased risk of hypoglycemia, compared to patients using insulin glargine alone."

BYETTA is not insulin and should not be taken instead of insulin. The diabetes medication should not be taken with short- and/or rapid-acting insulin. BYETTA should not be taken by type 1 diabetics, people with diabetic ketoacidosis or patients with a history of pancreatitis.

In the study supporting the expanded use, patients receiving insulin glargine, with or without metformin and/or a TZD, were randomized to receive BYETTA or placebo in addition to aggressive insulin titration. After 30 weeks of treatment, A1C decreased by 1.7 percentage points in patients adding BYETTA, compared with a decrease of 1.0 percentage point in patients treated with insulin glargine alone (p<0.001). A1C is a measure of average blood sugar over three months.

Nausea, which was the most common adverse event, occurred in 41 percent of patients treated with BYETTA compared with 8 percent of patients treated with insulin glargine alone.

BYETTA is an injectable diabetes medication that exhibits many of the same effects as the human incretin hormone GLP-1. GLP-1 improves blood sugar after food intake through multiple effects that work in concert on the stomach, liver, pancreas and brain.

BYETTA was the first glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and is now the first and only GLP-1 receptor agonist approved for use in the U.S. as an adjunct to long-acting insulin glargine (Lantus), with or without certain oral agents.

The double-blind clinical trial evaluating BYETTA as an add-on therapy to insulin glargine was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.(i) In the study, 261 patients receiving insulin glargine with or without metformin and/or a TZD were randomized to receive BYETTA 10 micrograms or placebo. Patients who may have been at increased risk of hypoglycemia (A1C?8 percent) reduced their dose of insulin glargine by 20 percent.

Five weeks after randomization, all patients had insulin doses aggressively titrated to target fasting blood glucose. The primary endpoint was reduction in A1C; secondary endpoints included change in body weight along with other parameters of glucose control, cardiovascular health, hypoglycemia and patient-reported outcomes.

After 30 weeks of treatment, the proportion of participants achieving the target A1C?7 percent was 60 percent in the BYETTA group and 35 percent in the insulin glargine group (p<0.001). For the target A1C?6.5 percent, the proportions were 40 percent and 12 percent, respectively (p<0.001). Both groups showed lower fasting plasma glucose concentrations; however, after morning and evening meals, when BYETTA was administered, postprandial glucose control was significantly improved in patients treated with BYETTA, compared to placebo.

On average, weight decreased by 4 pounds in patients adding BYETTA, compared with an increase of 2 pounds in patients treated with insulin glargine alone (p<0.001). The greater improvement in A1C with BYETTA was not accompanied by an increase in hypoglycemia, compared to insulin glargine alone.

New Ultra Fast Acting Insulin Does Well in Clinical Trials

October 26th, 2011

insulin syringe

Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego-based pharmaceutical company, recently announced that its new "ultrafast" insulin, PH20, worked just as well as Humalog in two Phase 2 clinical trials. PH20 is an insulin analog, a type of insulin that is not produced by the human body, but functions the same way as the insulin that the body produces.

The injectable insulin analog was as effective as another insulin analog - Eli Lilly's Humalog - at controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, PH20 was more effective than Humalog at controlling post-meal blood glucose levels. Rates of hypoglycemia were similar in PH20 insulin users, and the hypoglycemic episodes that did occur were generally mild and no more serious than those experienced by patients using Humalog.

Researchers studied the effects of the investigational diabetes medication on controlling blood sugar levels in two clinical trials conducted on about 220 participants. One study involved patients with Type 1 diabetes, and the other involved patients with Type 2 diabetes. There was a 50 percent increase in the number of patients who regularly met guidelines for healthy post-meal blood glucose levels among those using PH20 insulin injections.

PH20 insulin is delivered using rHuPH20, or recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme. Much of Halozyme's work is based on the subcutaneous delivery of medications with rHuPH20, which the company says decreases costs, increases efficiency, and makes medication more convenient for patients.

Halozyme said that it will be pursuing worldwide distribution of PH20, suggesting that it may be partnering with a larger pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Eating Too Quickly Doubles the Risk of Insulin Resistance

November 8th, 2011

Yet another reason to listen to your mother and slow down and chew your food properly - eating too quickly has been associated with a doubled risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance, or pre-diabetes. As the name suggests, pre-diabetes is the forerunner to developing type 2 diabetes. Most diabetics have type 2 diabetes - a form of diabetes where your body no longer responds properly to insulin (called insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes used to be described as non insulin dependent diabetes.

Insulin is the hormone that moves sugar (glucose) from the blood to the body's cells to provide them with energy. If your cells do not use insulin properly, the pancreas produces more insulin that normal to cope with the body's demands. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up, and excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood.

A recent Japanese study followed over 170 healthy individuals for three years, monitoring their eating habits. Snacking, eating late at night, skipping meals and eating out were not associated with developing pre-diabetes. The one and only eating habit associated with the development of insulin resistance was eating too quickly.

The researchers aren't sure why eating faster makes an individual more likely to develop pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, but suspect that eating rapidly results in higher post-meal blood glucose levels. Some doctors also point out that eating too quickly results in an overall increase in the amount of calories taken in. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal that the stomach is full, those who eat quickly continue eating without realizing that their stomach is filled.

Previous research has also shown that eating quickly results in increased weight gain. Insulin resistance generally increases with increased body fat, and there is a pronounced connection between obesity and diabetes. The two are so closely connected that it gave rise to the term "diabesity". Diabesity is currently epidemic across the developed world.

Insulin resistance has no symptoms. Pre-diabetes is sometimes called impaired glucose tolerance, and can be diagnosed with a fasting glucose test or a glucose tolerance test. The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults who are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors for diabetes should consider being tested. Additional risk factors include:

  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Being physically inactive.
  • Being African American, Alaska native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, or a Pacific Islander
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or being diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure or being treated for high blood pressure
  • Low HDL ("good") cholesterol levels or high triglyceride levels
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Having a history of cardiovascular disease

People with pre-diabetes can avoid becoming diabetic and the need to take diabetes medication by losing weight, being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and, as we now know, not eating too quickly.

Diabetes + Depression = Dementia, Study Suggests, Yes

December 7th, 2011

As if suffering with two debilitating conditions is not enough for one person to take, recent studies conducted suggests that those living with type 2 diabetes and struggle with depression have a greater risk of developing dementia.

The study was headed by Dr. Wayne Katon, who is a professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington's School of Public Health in Seattle and more specifically states that patients with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia three to five years after being diagnosed with depression, compared to a non depressed patient with diabetes.

Katon and his colleagues published their research, titled Aging Study and the Diabetes Study of Northern California in the Dec. 5 online edition of Archives of General Psychiatry which monitored more than 19, 000 California residents with Diabetes between the ages 30 and 75 and found that depression and diabetes are among the most prevalent health issues facing American seniors.

What's more interesting though, is each of the two conditions seem to independently raise the risk for developing the other. If you are Diabetic this raises up the likelihood of becoming depressed, and with the same motion, being depressed boosts the risk of developing diabetes. The study recognized that nearly 1 in 5 of the patients was also deemed to be experiencing clinical depression.

The study also monitored for the onset of dementia over a three to five year period, and Katon's team found that just over two percent of those who had both diabetes and depression went on to develop one or more forms of dementia. By contrast just one percent of patients who had just diabetes alone ended up developing dementia.

It is important to note however, that there a lot of things that can boost the odds for depression in diabetic patients such as poor diet, bad lifestyle choices, smoking etc, and if one can manage these things it may also lessen the risk of developing depression and perhaps even dementia. Katon notes, "So the important thing to focus on here is that there are very effective treatments for depression, and so if you are a diabetic who does have depression it's very important to get it attended to. Just as important as getting you diabetes itself treated."

Environmental Causes in Diabetes

December 21st, 2011

 

You've probably wondered - Are you at risk of developing diabetes? You may worry that your children will get it too. You may also be interested in our popular news, such as Lantus versus Levemir.

 

Like many diseases, diabetes results from both genetic and environmental factors. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. Generics and family history is a major risk factor to Type 1diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by lifestyle factors, such as age, lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity, stress, and metabolic syndrome such as high cholesterol level or high blood pressure.

Scientists have discovered that a number of environmental factors have been associated with the development of diabetes. According to the latest Environment-Wide Association Study (EWAS) on Type 2 diabetes, 226 unique environment factors have been defined in the analysis. Some of them can be summarized here:

  • Environmental chemicals like arsenic and BPA
  • Environmental pollution
  • Pesticides, herbicides and PCBs
  • Prescription drugs, especially SSRI antidepressants and chemotherapy
  • Toxins
  • Viruses

The results tell us the association between diabetes and environmental factors. Diabetes is a complex chronic disease with many causes and complications. Better understanding the causes and risk factors of diabetes will be beneficial for your family and friends in prevention and early recognition of diabetes.

Drinking Water Can Lower Diabetes Risk

January 17th, 2012

Proper hydration is one of the keys to healthy exercise, beautiful skin and general wellness. But did you know that it may also prevent diabetes?

French scientists tracked over 3000 men and women for almost a decade. After 9 years, 800 of those studied had developed type 2 diabetes or had high blood sugar. Those studied who drank the least water had a roughly 30% higher risk of developing high blood sugar than those who had consumed 17-34 ounces per day.

A hormone called vasopressin helps the body regulate water retention. While doing this, vasopressin also prompts the liver to produce blood sugar, which over time may strain the body's ability to produce or respond to insulin.

To read the full New York Times article, click here.

Statins May Raise Your Risk of Diabetes

January 31st, 2012

Although they are one of the most widely-prescribed medications in the United States, statins have recently been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor and Crestor.

The study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, reported that women who were using statins at the start of the seven year study were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than their non-statin-using counterparts. However, researchers stated that the benefits of statins are often more important than the risk of diabetes.

Although the reasons why statins may be causing diabetes are unclear, researchers hypothesize that the effects statins are having on the body may cause it to make slightly more sugar than usual. Statins may also cause the patient to exercise slightly less than usual, both of which are potential first steps to diabetes.

But for those patients at risk of heart disease, the lead researcher on the study was adamant that statins' benefits will greatly outweigh the risk of diabetes. In order to counteract any negative risks of statins, researchers say to increase your exercise, and be sure to frequently monitor your blood sugar.

"The conclusion still stands that overall, those people who've got existing heart disease or have had previous strokes, they still would get vast benefit from statins," says Naveed Sattar, a University of Glasgow diabetes and metabolism researcher.

Tea for Diabetes Prevention

February 21st, 2012

A new study has been released detailing the benefits of black tea consumption. According to the study, which was published in the British journal Nutritional Bulletin, drinking 3 or more cups of black tea a day reduced the risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers believe this is due to black teas high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant, which is believed to contribute to the reduction of inflammation and promote good functioning of blood vessels. Flavonoids are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Drinking two cups of tea is equal to five servings of vegetables, or 300-400 milligrams of antioxidants.

Diabetes affects over 25 millions Americans each year. All of these patients are required to buy anti-diabetes medications for blood sugar regulation. It is also a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. So be sure to drink your tea!

New Diabetic Treatment - Artificial Pancreas

March 5th, 2012

Clinical trials are currently being run for a treatment that may change the lives of diabetics. Instead of scheduled blood sugar checks, diabetics with an artificial pancreas can sleep through the whole night. The artificial pancreas is designed to digitally monitor a patients glucose levels and adjust them when the get too high or too low.

When it becomes main stream, the bionic pancreas will be about the size of a cell phone, but for clinical trials the patients are hooked up to laptops. The device uses algorithms to determine how much insulin is needed and at which time. There are two parts under the skin, one to detect the patients' glucose levels, and the other to inject the appropriate amount of insulin, or if necessary, the bionic pancreas can also inject Glucagon, a medication designed to rapidly raise dangerously low blood sugar levels.

The trials are currently only for adults and children in hospitals. For safety reasons, they are constantly monitored. The researchers are hoping to have this product on the market in the coming years, with patients being fitted with their artificial pancreas, monitored, and then sent home, no longer having to worry about lancets, insulin injections or what/how much they are eating.

Until the artificial pancreas has passed many more obstacles and testing, diabetics will have to continue their medication and monitoring regimens. In order to make it slightly easier, doctors may recommend that you buy Januvia, or other medications for type 2 diabetes to help regulate your blood sugar. .

Steps to Healthy Diabetic Feet

March 12th, 2012

As most diabetics know, the onset set of diabetic neuropathy usually starts in the extremities, particularly the feet. Neuropathy occurs when a diabetic's high blood sugar breaks down nerves and blood vessels in the body. The feet are most often affected, as they have many tiny bloody vessels, a large nerve network, and are the farthest from the heart, therefore receiving less blood than other areas. Neuropathy often results in ulcers or a loss of feeling in the feet. This can cause permanent damage, and sometimes even requires amputation to maintain overall health. Therefore, it is incredibly important to maintain your diabetes, and keep a close eye on your feet.

Step 1: Listen to your doctor - This means maintaining communication with them, and actually doing what they ask you to do. Diabetes is a difficult condition, but it can be easier with new treatments such as Bydureon and Trajenta. Maintaining a good level of blood glucose is important for your overall health, and helps prevent the breakdown of important nerves and blood vessels.

Step 2: Daily checks - Just like looking for a breast lump, daily checks are necessary to catch a problem early. Check for sores, infected toenails, and red spots. Use a mirror if you have a hard time bending down. Another important fact is how fast cuts heal. Talk to your doctor if a cut hasn't starting healing after a day.

Step 3: Proper Shoes - Shoes with a supportive sole and a breathable shell are extremely important for a diabetic. Both of these factors help to maintain good circulation in your feet, and make exercising much easier. Remember that good shoes will also wear out after a time, so periodically check the height of the insoles, and the overall condition of the shoe. If you notice that these things are lacking, invest in new shoes. You will notice a positive difference.

Step 4: Temperature Control - Step 3 and step 4 go hand in hand, it is important, when exercising, or when sedentary, to control the temperature of your feet. Since you may not be able to feel in, touch your feet with your hands every couple of hours yto make sure they are not overheated or exceptionally warm. Both of these extreme can lead to more nerve breakdown.

Step 5: Keep Them in Motion - Remember to wiggle your toes throughout the day; particularly ladies who wear tight shoes to work. You want to maintain good circulation, so try not to cross your legs for too long, and when you're relaxing on the couch, put your feet up.

Step one is truly the most important of these, as only your doctor will be able to help you accurately maintain your blood glucose levels in order to keep you're the healthiest, and stave off neuropathy. If your doctor tells you to buy Trajenta or any other diabetes medications, consider Big Mountain Drugs, a Canadian online pharmacy which offers significantly discounted medications, in order to keep you on the best medications without impacting you financially.

Surgery May Reverse Effects of Diabetes

March 30th, 2012

Two new studies have been published stating that gastric bypass surgery may be a useful new tool in diabetes treatment. The results of the two studies show that the surgery drastically reduces the symptoms of diabetes, or in some patients, it disappears altogether. Doctors are unsure why exactly this surgery works so well for Type 2 diabetes sufferers, but some believe it is due to hormone changes. This surgery is only available for diabetic patients with a body mass index of 35 or higher.

A typical woman has a body mass index between 19 and 25. According to researchers on the study, one diabetic woman who underwent the surgery now only uses 10 milligrams of insulin per day; she was taking nine times that pre-surgery. Unfortunately gastric bypass surgery doesn't have the same effect on Type 1 diabetics. This is due to their fundamental differences. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disorder, whereas type 2 is generally a complication of obesity. While the pounds melt off, so do the symptoms of diabetes.

Gastric bypass surgery uses a band to segregate the stomach into two pouches. The doctors then reattach the small intestine to the upper half of the stomach, which is now significantly smaller. Bariatric surgeons typically only perform this type of surgery on someone who is morbidly obese, which is a body mass index or 40 or more. They will also perform gastric bypass on a patient with a body mass index of 35, if they also have a 'co-morbid condition' such as diabetes.

If you are not currently accepted for this type of surgery, you will have to control your diabetes using long acting insulins such as Lantus or Levemir. We recommend that you buy anti-diabetes medications online, at a Canadian pharmacy. This will significantly reduce the financial burden caused by a long term disease such as diabetes.

To see the original release, click here.

Stress Affects Diabetes in 3 Ways

August 15th, 2012

Eating right and getting your body in motion every day are pillars of any program for managing diabetes or losing weight. A third element that may be just as important is getting a handle on stress.

Research is now beginning to reveal just how important stress management is when it comes to diabetes. One study, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, found that when people used easy relaxation techniques, they dropped their A1C numbers (an indication of blood sugar levels over a period of several months) significantly. In fact, about a third of the volunteers lowered their A1C levels by one percent or more after a yearan effect on a par with that of diabetes drugs. And those results were beyond what they gained through diet and exercise.

Here are three ways that stress can impact your diabetes, and how to keep it in check.

1. Stress hormones raise blood sugar

2. Stress contributes to insulin resistance

3. Stress leads to weight gain

One example of stress management technique is deep breathing, which is known to help people align their physical and mental states. Your doctor may prescribe certain antidepressants and diabetes medications for you to help relieve from stress and diabetes, such as generic Lexapro 20mg and generic Actos 45mg.

To read the full article, click here.

How Sweet it is - a New Sugar for Diabetics

October 3rd, 2012

Coconut Palm Sugar has been making headlines lately as a low glycemic alternative to cane sugar. This delicious sweetener has been used in traditional Southeast Asian cuisine for thousands of years but is a relative newcomer to the US market. It has been touted as nutrient rich (yes you read that correctly) natural sweetener with an extremely low glycemic index in comparison with traditional sugars such as white and brown sugar. This is great news for diabetics who need to manage their blood glucose levels. A new medication, Januvia is a once-daily pill prescribed to treat diabetes and lower blood sugar level.

Coconut Palm Sugar has a Glycemic Index (GI) rating of 35 whereas cane sugars, both brown and white have a GI rating of 68. Coconut Palm Sugar's Glycemic Index even measures lower than agave nectar at 42, and honey at 55! Coconut Palm Sugar is also said to be high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron as well as B-Vitamins 1, 2, 3 and 6. Compared with brown sugar, Coconut Palm Sugar has 36 times more iron, 4 times more magnesium, and over 10 times the amount of zinc!

While it shouldn't be considered a "health food" per se, it is a healthier alternative to traditional sweeteners and a more natural alternative to artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. Its slow energy release also makes it a great alternative for diabetics who would like to enjoy an occasional sweet treat. Coconut Palm Sugar is produced from the sap of flower buds cut from a coconut palm tree. The sap is collected and then heated to evaporate its moisture content. It is then further reduced to create crystals, and then packaged and sold in small bags at your local health food store or natural grocery store. It can even be found in the natural foods section of some larger grocery store chains.

It is similar in appearance to brown sugar but has a much more complex taste. It has been described as tasting similar to brown sugar but with a slight caramel or butterscotch flavor. It's warm, rich flavor tastes great as a sweetener in coffee or tea, and can be used as a one to one replacement for both white and brown sugar in recipes. Its granulated crystals are quite large, but it can be powdered down in a blender or food processor when a more delicate sugar is needed.

Lisa's Coconut Palm Sugar, Apple Berry Crisp

Filling:

2 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

3 cups of mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, black berries), fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Topping:

1 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)

cup all purpose flour

cup coconut palm sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cup butter softened (can be replaced with coconut oil for a healthier alternative)

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place all filling ingredients into an 11 x 7 inch pan. Gently stir to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl add rolled oats, flour, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. Add vanilla extract and then butter using a fork or your hands to combine. Crumble topping evenly over filling.

Bake for 40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy warm from the oven.

Living with Diabetes: Maintaining a Healthy Circulation

October 22nd, 2012

People living with diabetes need to pay special attention to the health of their circulatory systems, taking conscious efforts to reduce the risks of circulation problems or, in worst case scenarios, cardiovascular disease or stroke. Poor circulation affects the whole body from the feet to the nervous system, and is the reason why over 50 per cent of amputations performed in North America are due to diabetes complications. Maintaining a healthy circulation is the most important preventative measure a patient of diabetes can take to keep their condition stable. Keep reading below to learn more about the effect diabetes has on the circulatory system, and the steps you can take to keep it in shape.

How Does Diabetes Cause Poor Circulation?

Diabetes is often associated with other health problems such as high blood pressure and high levels of glucose and cholesterol. All of these maladies create a massive strain on the heart and arteries which in turn slows down the function of a healthy circulatory system. Once the arteries become damaged they are unable to properly circulate blood away from the heart to where it needs to be. This is the reason why so many diabetics face leg amputations or blindness; the delicate arteries have been damaged to a point where they are starting to affect major blood vessels that serve to carry blood flow from the heart to the periphery of the body.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Circulation Problems

Quit smoking - smoking has hardens the arteries over time and is a proven cause of poor circulation in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Diabetics who smoke should quit immediate for the sake of their health and quality of life: not only will circulation improve, so will respiratory health and general mobility. You'll also save money, which you can spend on a circulation-improving massage.

Exercise - Exercise is the most effective way to get the blood flowing and improve circulation. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, walking and cycling will immediately improve blood flow to the legs and feet. The Canadian Diabetic Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, and to never let more than two days go by without any physical activity.

Watch Cholesterol, Glucose Levels - Talk to your doctor about keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels at healthy levels. Eat a diet low in salt, fat and sugar and high in whole grains and vegetables.

Improving blood circulation for those people can sometimes be accomplished by always taking medications on time. People with diabetes mellitus also take certain medications such as generic Glucophage to keep the blood sugar levels under control.

Diabetes Diet Plan: What to Eat and Not to Eat

October 25th, 2012

Protein vs. carbs
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes or told that he is at risk, the first thought that is bound to run through his mind is "I will no longer be able to eat normally." The common notion is that sugars must be avoided at all costs and desserts must be given up completely. Your previous diet gets replaced by a strict, merciless regimen and your whole life is spent keeping a sharp eye on what you put into your body.

While it is true that diet modification is required to prevent or control diabetes, the notion that this medical condition will cripple your entire life is nothing more than a misconception. And, this article aims at busting some of the more common myths surrounding this topic. So, let's get started, shall we?

Carbohydrates are An Absolute No-no!

The average diabetic believes that carbohydrates should be stricken completely off the list. However, few people know that carbohydrates, or "carbs" as they are popularly referred to, are integral to a healthy diet for diabetic patients.

Apart from being the primary source of energy, carbs contain essential nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber. For this reason, instead of abstaining from them altogether, a better thing to do would be to choose healthier carbs, such as the ones you find in whole foods and high fiber fruit and vegetables.

Diet for Diabetics should be High in Proteins

Since most diabetic patients cut down on carbohydrates, they turn to proteins as a source of energy. However, this can be counter-productive for them. Studies show that having a protein-rich diet can cause insulin resistance, a factor that could aggravate the condition further. For this reason, a healthy diet, especially for people with diabetes, should derive only 15-20% of its calories from proteins, and no more.

Your Favorite Foods are Completely off the List

Abstinence seems to be the defining characteristic of a diet for people with diabetes. The general idea is that anything you may have loved eating becomes the forbidden fruit and gets crossed off your diet chart. This isn't necessarily so.

While you are not allowed to give in to your indulgences, there is no reason really why you should give up having what you like as long as it is in moderation. For instance, you could reduce the portion of your favorite dessert or use it as a reward for following your meal plan regularly.

Life for people with diabetes is not easy. Constant vigilance is required to keep their sugar levels in check. That said, it's important to investigate the scientific validity of dietary ideas that one comes across these days. And the best way to do that is to consult a trusted medical practitioner or a qualified nutritionist.

Can a Diabetic Have an Occasional Drink?

January 17th, 2013

Not everyone finds abstaining from alcohol to be a huge sacrifice. Yet, there are times when tipping the glass feels almost obligatory, not to mention that there is a growing amount of evidence that a glass of wine may even have health benefits. If you are diabetic, the hype around alcohol consumption may be even more confusing. Do you or don't you have to eliminate alcohol completely from your diet? What is the rule of thumb for drinking with diabetes?

How alcohol is processed in the body gives some insight into the problems that may exist for those with diabetes. In much the same way that fat is processed, alcohol has similar results, providing almost as many calories. If you have diabetes, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. With that in mind, if you are trying to control you diabetes by monitoring calorie intake, one drink should equal about two fat exchanges.

Of course, if your blood sugar is already high, you should wait to indulge in a drink until you have it under control. Also, if you are overweight or are dealing with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you may want to sacrifice the drink. Check with your doctor for the best advice in that case.

A few other things to remember:

? Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to rise, but too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.

? Beer and sweet wine have more carbohydrates. They could cause blood sugar to rise.

? Alcohol is an appetite stimulant. Beware or you may find yourself also fighting the urge to consume more calories.

? Alcohol can interfere with the positive benefits of prescribed medications.

Having said all of the above, it is appropriate to add that drinking no more than two drinks a day may be tolerated by some diabetics. Make sure to eat something along with the drink. Don't drink too quickly. Sugary drinks, like mixed drinks or sweet wines should be avoided.

More importantly, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is of the utmost importance that you work with your doctor to develop a treatment and management plan for reaching your best outcomes. Diabetes should be taken seriously.

Controlling Diabetes with Insulin: Common FAQs

February 8th, 2013

If you've recently been prescribed insulin as part of your diabetic treatment, there must be plenty of questions in your head. On the other hand, you may not even know where to begin or what to ask. Here is a handy list of questions you should quiz your physician on. It will give you a clearer picture of what to expect once your course of insulin begins.

What kind of insulin will I need to use?

There are four basic types of insulin. It's important to ask your doctor which of them would be best suited to you, given your blood sugar level and the type of diabetes you are suffering from

1. Rapid-acting insulin: Works within a few minutes of being administered but lasts only for a couple of hours.

2. Short-acting insulin: Also known as regular acting insulin, it starts working in about half an hour and keeps you going for 3-6 hours.

3. Intermediate-acting insulin: Once administered, it starts working in 2-4 hours, but its effect lasts up to 18 hours.

4. Long-acting insulin: While it take anywhere from 6-10 hours to take effect, long-acting insulin can last an entire day.

Which delivery method is best for me?

There are four ways in which insulin can be injected into the bloodstream:

a) Syringe

b) Pen

c) Pump

d) Needle-free jet injector

Each method has its own pros and cons - for instance syringes are the most cost-effective option whereas pens are a lot easier to use, but pumps are known to deliver insulin continuously. Ask your doctor about each method in detail and find out which one is covered by your insurance. This will help you reach a final decision.

How often do I have to take an insulin shot?

Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may require only one shot of insulin per day, whereas those suffering from type 1 diabetes might need to administer insulin as many as three to four times a day. Ask your doctor how often you will need to take a shot and what the dosage should be like.

When & where am I supposed to take my insulin?

What time of the day a diabetic takes his insulin shot can vary depending on several factors, such as how much exercise he gets, his diet, overall health, the type of insulin he's taking as well as the delivery system being used. Ask your doctor at what time of the day you are required to take the insulin and what you need to do in case you forget to take your shot.

Where the insulin should be injected is yet another thing to discuss with your doctor. While the most common site for the injection is the abdomen, insulin can also be injected into the thighs, arms or buttocks. The doctor should demonstrate the right way to give an injection and educate you on the importance of rotating the injection site.

What side effects should I watch out for?

The most common side effects associated with insulin are weight gain and low blood sugar. There are others as well which you must ask your brother about. In addition, you should take advice on how to tackle these side effects, if they do manifest themselves.

Once you start taking insulin shots, your life will change in many ways. Asking the right questions will prepare you for these transformations and help you approach them with an educated mind.

Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

March 20th, 2013

Type 2 Diabetes is a serious condition - one that is capable of wreaking havoc on your health and lifestyle. Therefore, when you hear that it can be prevented, you take this news as the proverbial silver lining.

Medical experts across the country are united in their opinion that nine out of ten cases of diabetes can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle habits; a fact that is borne out by recent studies done on this subject.

For instance, it has been observed that women who were categorized as "low risk" were 90% less likely to have diabetes than other women. Low risk women are those who have maintained optimum body weight (defined by a body mass index of less than 25), exercise at least 30 minutes a day, follow a healthy diet, do not smoke and limit themselves to only 2-3 alcoholic drinks per week. Also, it is no coincidence that men who were excessively overweight, did not exercise, and had a "Western" diet were at high risk of type 2 Diabetes.

What one gathers from this is that making modifications to your existing lifestyle can help you steer clear of diabetes.

So, what are these changes we are talking about? Nothing earth-shattering really, but they are crucial nonetheless. Let's start with the first one, which would be-EXERCISE.

We all know exercise is beneficial for maintaining overall health and fitness; however, it holds special significance for prevention of type 2 Diabetes. Regular exercise helps maintain optimal muscle function that goes towards improving the body's sensitivity to insulin. This, in turn, stabilizes your blood glucose levels. In addition, it also improves blood pressure, thereby preventing cardiovascular disease.

On a related note, it is common knowledge that excess weight or obesity can contribute towards development of type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, it stands to reason that shedding pounds and achieving normal body weight would be integral to preventing this condition.

Bear in mind that when we speak of losing weight, we are not referring to building six pack abs or sculpting a perfect body. Losing just 5-7% of your total body weight can delay the onset of type 2 Diabetes and taking just 5 kilos off your body can reduce your chances of getting diabetes by 50%. So, try and get at least half an hour of moderate exercise, five times a week, to stay one step ahead of type 2 Diabetes.

Moving on, the other thing you need to focus on is your diet, starting with reducing the amount of high-sugar foods (carbohydrates) that find their way into it. It is important to avoid simple sugars, since they can get rapidly assimilated into the bloodstream, causing a spike in the amount of insulin being produced by the body. On the other hand, complex starches prove to be a better substitute. Since they take a while to break down, the sugars get absorbed into the bloodstream gradually. This, in turn, produces less insulin.

Next in line is the kind of fat that goes into your diet. While saturated fats can bring about insulin resistance, oleic acid - a type of fat found in olive oil has the opposite effect. That's why it's considered to be especially beneficial for diabetics to have meals cooked in olive oil.

While there is no denying that genes play a role in the development of type 2 Diabetes, they come second to lifestyle and behavioral factors. If you can keep excess weight off, follow a healthy style, refrain from drinking and smoking excessively, and exercise regularly, you will be successful in keeping diabetes at bay.

Is Diabetes linked to Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels?

April 3rd, 2013

According to the findings of the latest analysis of diabetes, close to 60 percent of the people suffering from diabetes have failed to meet their cholesterol targets even though majority of them have their cholesterol levels being looked into by medical experts at least once every year. As much as a large percentage of people with diabetes are being checked by medical experts, a fairly large number of people are still not able to meet their cholesterol targets. From this, it has become very clear that these medical checkups are not leading to any improved outcomes for majority of the population.

Cholesterol Abnormalities ties to Diabetes

Cholesterol simply refers to a soft waxy substance commonly found in the blood stream and in the body cells. Although it is considered to be important for the overall health of the body, not all cholesterol is good/equal. There is cholesterol that is beneficial to the body and that which causes harm to the body [hence should always be kept at minimum levels]. Cholesterol is linked to diabetes in the sense that people with diabetes are more prone to be affected by the unhealthy cholesterol [bad cholesterol], which is known to be one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.

Note: choosing to control the cholesterol levels in your body helps you significantly reduce your vulnerability to cardiovascular diseases as well as premature death.

Influence of diabetes to cholesterol

Diabetes has a tendency of lowering the levels of good cholesterol levels while at the same time raising the levels of bad cholesterol and triglyceride. These two collectively increase the risks of heart disease and stroke [a common condition referred to as diabetic dyslipidemia].

This diabetic condition "dyslipidemia" simply means that the lipid profile of your body is headed in the wrong direction. In short, it is simply a combination that ends up putting patients at high risks of suffering from premature coronary heart diseases and atherosclerosis [a condition in which the heart ends up being clogged by fat and other irrelevant substances]. Studies have also proven that there is a link to insulin resistance [a precursor to the common type 2 diabetes as well as diabetic dyslipidemia, blood vessel disease and atherosclerosis etc]. Bad thing is that all the above mentioned conditions are likely to develop way before diabetes itself is diagnosed.

Bottom line

Healthcare professionals and their patients are warned not to be too callous about the cholesterol check [which is amongst the health care essentials] carried out on an annual basis for everyone suffering from diabetes.Good news is, the one year anniversary since the launch of the health care essentials is being used to familiarize people with the dangers of overworking themselves. It has also helped make people emphasize more on the health problems that they identify, especially those related to poor cholesterol control which should promptly be acted upon.

Generally, both people with diabetes and health care professionals should work together to make sure that the annual health check leads to a meaningful action aimed at helping optimize cholesterol levels in the body.

Effect of Diabetes on Metabolism

June 12th, 2013

Diabetes is one of the most widely spread diseases. Across the world 347 million people have diabetes. And it is well known, that the number are bound to rise. Especially the people living in low-income and middle-income countries are more prone to diabetes. The rising number of people being diagnosed with diabetes is a global concern and appeals to all the world citizens to maintain a healthy diet and to exercise in order to keep the body fit.

The first question that comes to mind is, how does diabetes happen? The pancreases produce a hormone, called insulin. The insulin helps to regulate the blood sugar by allowing the glucose from the food one eats to enter the body cells. After one eats a meal, the blood sugar level is high, and thus insulin is secreted to bring the blood sugar level back to normal. It does so by converting the glucose into glucagon, which is stored in the liver, and can be released when the blood sugar levels fall low. Increased blood sugar or excessively low blood sugar can lead to hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia respectively, and both these are dangerous and can prove to be fatal in extreme cases. When a person suffers from diabetes, his or her pancreas are affected, meaning that the insulin being produced is either too less or too much.

Diabetes directly affects the metabolism of human beings. The metabolism is the chemical process through which food is converted into energy in the cells of the human body. This energy is used to help to body to continue to live and grow by performing the majors activities by which living organisms are classified. The effects of diabetes on metabolism depend upon the type of diabetes that one has.

People suffering from type-1 diabetes, have low levels of insulin being secreted by their pancreas. This means that the body cells don't receive the required glucose for the process of metabolism. In order to continue to survive, the body burns up its fat reserves to continue its required functions. This makes the individual lose a lot of weight. The excessive loss of weight can have detrimental effects on eye sight and can cause kidney failure. Thus these people need to inject insulin into their blood for their metabolic activity to remain stable.

On the other hand, type-2 diabetes is a case where excessive insulin is secreted into the blood by the pancreas. However, the body is either unable to sense the insulin or is unable to use it effectively. These high insulin levels promote the storage of fat by converting it into glucagon and prevent it from being converted into energy, that is, the process of metabolism is hindered. The fat storage increases the weight of the patient since the body becomes resistant to insulin.

Other than being caused by unhealthy habits, diabetes is also hereditary. Genes cannot be tampered with; however one can choose to lead a healthy life in order to stay hale and hearty. Hence, like the famous saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

Is Alzheimer A Type 3 Diabetes?

June 20th, 2013

One of the most hopeless brain conditions that attacks man is Alzheimer. It's a form of dementia which worsens as it progresses. At present, there's no known cure for Alzheimer disease. Pharmaceutical companies around the globe are hard at work in discovering new drugs for its cure, but till now there's no concrete proof that there are drugs that could cure this disease. To better understand how Alzheimer works, here are factual revelations about this haunting disease.

Typecasting Alzheimer as type 3 diabetes

There have been ongoing debates and studies all aimed at classifying Alzheimer as a type 3 diabetes. Many medical societies all over the globe propose that Alzheimer disease should be given the title of type 3 diabetes. The reason for this proposal is based on recent studies regarding the growth of another form of diabetes characterized by factors like resistance to insulin and insulin growth. Comparative studies show that there is a substantial similarity between the disease characteristics of the proposed type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer; this is the reason why there is a prevailing proposal to classify Alzheimer as type 3 diabetes.

Reasons for proposing type 3 diabetes classification for Alzheimer

An in-depth discussion as to the official types of diabetes will give the reader an insight as to why there are many medical institutions pushing for the classification of Alzheimer as type 3 diabetes. At present, there is actually no type 3 diabetes term and classification officially and medically recognized. What the medical society has are proposals for the official classification of Alzheimer as the type 3 diabetes.

Today, there are only three main types of diabetes officially recognized by medical societies around the world. First is the Type 1 DM attributed to the body's failure to produce insulin requiring persons afflicted with this disease to inject insulin. The second type is Type 2 DM which is associated with a condition arising from insulin resistance or even absolute insulin deficiency. The third type is the gestational diabetes suffered by pregnant women without previous diagnosis for diabetes. Now, various medical groups are proposing for the official recognition of a new type of diabetes, the Alzheimer disease as Type 3 DM.

Alzheimer's disease is attributed to the protein misfolding occurring in the brain (proteopathy) caused by abnormal amassing of folded amyloid beta and amyloid tau proteins in the brain. It is essentially characterized by insulin resistance which is one of the signs of persons afflicted with diabetes. Because of this disease property, people suffering from Alzheimer's disease are prescribed to take diabetes drugs to prevent worsening or progress of dementia. In addition to this, most people suffering the worst case of diabetes are eventually afflicted with Alzheimer. The people with diabetes have the greater risk of being attacked by Alzheimer's disease.

The similarities of Alzheimer and diabetes' disease pathology and the fact that Alzheimer patients are given anti-diabetic drugs, are perhaps the underlying reason why there is insistence to classify Alzheimer as type 3 diabetes.

The Link between Diabetes and Disability

August 6th, 2013

A new study done by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia has found that elderly people with diabetes have an increased risk of disability when compared to elderly persons without diabetes. Over the last thirty years, diabetes rates around the world have more than doubled. There are nearly 350 million adults who have diabetes, per an estimate from the World Health Organization. Common afflictions associated with diabetes include kidney problems, vision problems, and heart disease.

Specifically, those seniors that suffered from diabetes were found to have more than a fifty percent higher risk of also suffering from a disability. Anna Peeters, who serves as the head of obesity and population health at the Institute stated, "We found that diabetes increased the risk of disability by 50 percent to 80 percent compared to those without diabetes, and this result was consistent across all types of disability. The results of this study are particularly important in the context of an aging population and increasing diabetes prevalence over time. In combination, this suggests a substantial increase in the burden of disability in the elderly in coming decades."

The study defined disability as including things like managing a check book, running errands (called instrumental activities of daily life), difficulty in walking or with movement (called impaired mobility in the study), and troubles with daily functions (called activities of daily living in the study) such as bathing or eating. The study involved a review of data and information from over twenty-five prior studies that analyzed disability in people that suffered from diabetes, and disability in people that did not suffer from diabetes. The various studies reviewed and analyzed conducted post-study visits for anywhere from eighteen months to nearly ten years. The smaller studies reviewed and analyzed had as few as 369 participants, while the larger studies had as many as 66,000 participants. Most of the individuals in the studies were aged fifty-five years or older. Participants in the reviewed studies were often asked to go through physical examinations and tests regarding how fast they could walk or how well they could balance.

Many of the studies did not distinguish between type I and type II diabetes, but Peeters stated that most of the patients likely suffered from type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is often called adult onset diabetes. Type I diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes because of when it develops. Approximately ninety percent of those suffering from diabetes today suffer from type II diabetes - the type often associated with being overweight and inactive.

Peeters also indicated that most of the studies did not determine how managing a person's diabetes would affect their risk of developing a disability. Although the study was not crystal clear as to the link between diabetes and the increased rates of disability in the elderly, it was theorized that those persons suffering from each share common attributes, such as being overweight and a fairly non-active lifestyle. The review by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute included those factors, as well as other factors that are seen in both persons with diabetes and disabilities. Peeters also opined that other conditions associated with having a high blood sugar, such as inflammation, contribute to the potential to develop a disability.

How You can Manage Diabetes in Holidays?

January 14th, 2014

Holiday season is the best time in the entire year where you connect and enjoy with your family, friends and close acquaintances. It is really tough for anyone to resist overeating and drinking during holiday time by sticking to a diet plan. For millions of people avoiding cookies and chocolates during the holiday break is not less than a challenge, especially when they are all around. All the plans and schedules that you follow tend to change completely during this time. Hence, it becomes really tough to cope up with diabetes and enjoy the holiday eve at the same time. By following some simple tips you can easily control your diabetes without keeping yourself away from the holiday parties.

Keeping an eye on very basics

An inconsistent blood sugar level during this time is not pleasing and can ruin your precious holiday season. Keep a check on the blood sugar levels and make some extra efforts to control it even along with enjoying the parties.

• Eat consistently instead of taking heavy meals at one go. Taking small and balanced meals in controlled portions of the day is usually advised.

• People are unable to stick to their daily routines during holidays. Substitute your daily workout with shorter exercises like a 10 minute walk.

• People on insulin medication should frequently check their blood sugar levels. Try adjusting your work, eating and exercise schedules. A bedtime check of your glucose levels is also necessary.

• Remain stressed down and manage your sweets and savouries consumption by making them a part of your carbohydrate budget not an addition to it.

Party healthy

Proper planning before going into the parties can avoid your glucose from shooting up. This can take time but if you keep it as your priority, it can have huge payoffs.

• Try not skipping meals during parties. This leads to overeating later and reduced blood sugar reactions. Eat throughout the day at regular intervals of time.

• Fill your plate with healthy food that is less on calorie. Calories rich food like turkey can be taken in little quantities. Fruit is yet another healthy option.

• Before going into the dinner party, try having some light snacks. This will surely help in eating less at the party.

• Watch out on your alcohol intake. Never consume alcohol based drinks when you are empty stomach. Restrict the number of wine glass to one.

• Diet sodas, sparkling water and unsweetened tea are good replacements for wine.

• Food is a big distraction. Try focusing more on the people and activities around in the parties.

Travelling wisely

Planning ahead is very essential when you are travelling out during holidays.

• Don’t forget to carry sufficient medications like insulin with you. Ensure that they are stored at proper place.

• If your journey includes an air travel, try taking packed foods. Request for a diabetes friendly food when you are on-board.

• Follow a strict schedule for taking medications. If you are travelling by road, avoid the unhygienic roadside food.