Higher Risk Groups for Diabetes

October 18th, 2012

Although diabetes can strike anyone, there are certain groups of people who show a stronger than average tendency toward developing the disease. For instance, if you are middle aged and African American, studies suggest that you may be three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Why African Americans are at greater risk for diabetes is still open for debate. In many instances, the diabetes gene may be passed down through the family. Deaths resulting from diabetes are 20% higher for African American men than white males and 40% higher for African American women than white females. That is significant. However, the good news is that fewer African American children seem to develop type 1 diabetes.

Another group that appears to have a higher rate of secondary issues due to diabetes is women who suffer heart attacks. The risk of this complication among women is more serious than among men. In fact, women with diabetes between the ages of 25-44 are three times more likely to die of a heart attack those women without diabetes.

A staggering 10% of Hispanic Americans have diabetes. That clearly puts them in a higher risk group as well. Native American is more than twice as likely to develop diabetes, too. About 14% of the Native American population has diabetes.

Once again, diabetes can and does affect people regardless of race, sex, or age. As everyone ages; the risk of type 2 diabetes increases. Also, anyone with a family history of diabetes is also at higher risk. Yet, no matter what group you are in, there are lifestyle choices that can be made which may reduce the chances of getting this disease. Not smoking, managing your cholesterol and blood pressure, and getting plenty of exercise while maintaining a healthy weight are important. Anyone who is overweight, sedentary, and has a relative with diabetes should be screened for diabetes.

If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your GP may prescribe certain oral diabetes medications such as generic Actos to regular your blood sugar levels, although the lifestyle changes are essential.

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.

Does Type2 Diabetes Increase Your Risk of Getting Dementia?

August 14th, 2013

The link between old age and forgetfulness is truism enough to be the subject of greeting cards, sitcoms and jokes. We take it for granted so often that very few of us take the time to question why does it happen? Is this a fluke, or the first sign of dementia?

Dementia is not a disease; it is a collection of symptoms, which include memory loss and a group of cognitive dysfunctions including personality changes, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, but it is not the only factor. Dementia strikes individuals with poorly controlled diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is also considered as a risk factor for dementia.

Dementia affects the way the brain normally functions, and the commencement of the condition can adversely affect an individual's memory, speech and ability to successfully complete daily activities. Though not every research confirms the connection, many studies indicate that people with diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes, are at higher risk of ultimately developing dementia. Some past studies have found that diabetes can increase the risk of dementia, but having the disease doesn't mean that you will build up Alzheimer's. Similarly many people who develop Alzheimer's do not have diabetes. Untreated diabetes over time can lead to blood vessel disease. This increases the risk of dementia because your brain needs healthy blood vessels to keep brain cells functioning well.

Type 2 diabetes is slow to develop, and the symptoms are milder and often go unrecognized at first. Type 2 Diabetes may also contribute to the build up of plaques and tangles in the brain, soreness in the brain and oxidation in brain cells; all these increase the risk of dementia. Some studies indicate that patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those who have brutal instances of low blood sugar, face a higher than an average risk of embryonic dementia. Type 2 diabetes may contribute to pitiable memory, confusion, wandering and diminished mental function in various ways.

Don't let dementia deprive your loved one of their enjoyment for life. If you notice any of the warning signs above, immediately:

1. Schedule an appointment with doctor. Ask the physician what physical and mental function tests can be done to diagnose the possible dementia as well as the underlying causes.

2. Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, so it is important to try and maintain a healthy body weight.

3. Exercise 30 minutes five days each week.

As per the latest The Rotterdam study, there are strong signs which suggest that diabetes may have contributed to the clinical syndrome in a substantial proportion of all dementia patients.

Researchers persist to study the connections between diabetes and dementia, and potential way to cure or treat diabetes and dementia. The researchers recommended that professional activity may contribute to higher levels of social engagement, which may be shielding against dementia, though more research is needed in this area.