The Diabetes Forecast magazine, has written a wonderful article about understanding the new “Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults” (LADA), also known as Type 1.5 (personally I rather refer to this is LADA, type 1.5 makes me feel like I have a computer software in my body, and 1.5 is the upgrade version). Some people feel that it should be simply called type 1.
Do you get the feeling that we are starting to see too many labels for diabetes? Does these new categories help us, or drive more debate amongst the medical profession, and the general community at large? At present, there is so much lack of awareness about diabetes, from complications to actually learning how to take care of yourself as a diabetic.
I am really concerned that these labels will indirectly cause many more diabetics to hide their condition. As I try to educate myself more and more about diabetes and its complexity, the more I realize how so many of us are still in the dark. The average person has never even heard of LADA before.
This for me brings up an interesting subject. In doing my own personal research about LADA, I’ve found that most people who have LADA were misdiagnosed as type 2. This is because most often LADA has both characteristics of type 1 & 2.
Now, it has become general knowledge that type 1 are supposed to make up 10% of all diabetics. However, with all the combined misdiagnosis of many patients supposed to be type 2, I think in actuality the percentage of type 1’s are significantly higher.
This strikes a personal cord with me. Because, the reality is………. You hear about all the diabetics that have died from complications, however, how many of those actually died from misdiagnosis? How many of those patients that died, should have been on insulin from the beginning? How many diabetics assumed that they were failures because they could not get their sugar down, when they should have been on insulin from the get go? What are doctors using to test for diabetes? Or are they base their diagnosis on the way a patient looks?
Visit the American Diabetes Association website and read their article on LADA, it is extremely interesting.
© 2010 DiabeticRadio
Mary Beth Eilders knew lifestyle changes were in order. The German Valley, Ill., resident didn’t exercise with any consistency, smoked up to a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years and, at one point, weighed 240 pounds.
She quit smoking nearly 10 years ago. And two years ago, Eilders, a high school business teacher, started walking to complement changes she had made in her diet.
These days, the 44-year-old mother of four feels like a different person, thanks to her daily walks. She prefers walking outdoors, but during winter months, she sticks to a treadmill in her home.
The results? Eilders has shed more than 100 pounds and recently completed her first 5K run. “I can’t tell you how good it feels,” she said.
“Women have to give themselves permission to exercise,” she said. “We sometimes feel guilty taking time away from other things, like getting kids ready for school, making lunches … but it’s important we take time for ourselves.”
Christy Eldridge, outpatient rehabilitation manager for OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill., said walking is important for several reasons: It helps increase confidence, strengthens the heart and decreases the risk of disease.
“Walking is the most overlooked form of exercise,” she said. “It’s a gentle exercise, most folks can do it, and it’s available to everyone. It’s a functional activity; it’s something that helps people do what they do every day and do it better.”
Thinking about starting a walking program? Here are some tips:
- To stay fit and healthy, set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day.
- Record your mileage, keep a journal and constantly reassess your goals.
- Buy a pedometer. It keeps you accountable.
- Change your routine: Frequently change when you walk, where you walk and who you walk with.
- If you can’t squeeze in 30 minutes at a time, break up your daily walk into three 10-minute intervals.
Rockford Woman (Rockford Register Star)
By Dr. Murray Feingold
Recently, I stopped at a drug store to buy a newspaper and strolled by the pharmacy counter. There was a long line of people waiting to pick up their prescriptions. And they weren’t all oldsters.
Looking at all of these people brought to mind a concern I have regarding the huge number of people who are taking medications.
What will they do if there is some type of disaster and there is no way for them to get their meds? To my knowledge there are no solid back-up plans to address this potentially serious issue.
How many of these people really need all of the medications they are taking?
Studies have shown that we are an overmedicated society.
Approximately 75 percent of all adults take at least one prescription drug. During the past 10 years the number of people taking a medication for diabetes or high blood pressure has increased by 75 percent. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants has increased by 50 percent.
The cost for all these medications is staggering. One estimate is that it costs close to $15 billion a year.
Medical progress is responsible for a great deal of the problem. Because of medical advances, people are living much longer and about a third or more of all medications are prescribed for this group.
The drug industry continues to produce newer, more effective medications that are usually quite expensive.
Today, more drugs are frequently used to treat an illness. For example, some people with hypertension are now taking three or four medications instead of one or two.
Years ago there were no statin drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor. Now, probably the majority of senior citizens are taking some type of statin medication.
During the recent debate on health care, because of the financial burden the cost of medications has placed on our economy, there were rumblings of limiting medications for our senior citizens.
It is obvious that we cannot continue on the present path regarding medications. Changes need to be made.
One thing is certain, there will be more intervention by the federal government – the automobile industry comes to mind.
Also, there will be increased limitations on the medications patients will be able to take.
Doctors will also encounter more paperwork if they want to prescribe drugs that are not on federal or third party-approved lists.
Consider today the glory days as far as getting your medications because tomorrow will be a much different story.
Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of the National Birth Defects Center, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.
Copyright 2010 Allston/Brighton TAB. Some rights reserved
The National Institutes of Health, America’s federally-funded medical research organization, is spearheading efforts to establish chronic disease centers in 11 developing countries, where illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease have become bigger killers than infectious disease.
Chronic, lifestyle-related diseases caused by excessive fast-food consumption and lack of exercise now account for an estimated 60 percent of deaths in developing countries. That is a public health toll greater than that of parasitic diseases, which are also a leading cause of illness and death in the poorest countries.
If nothing is done to stop the trend, experts say that by 2015, 41 million people around the world will succumb each year to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, with half of the victims younger than 70 years of age.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is helping to establish chronic disease centers in 11 countries, including India, China, Guatemala, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and at the U.S.-Mexico border. The centers’ mission will be to educate people about chronic illnesses and to help treat patients.
Richard Smith, Director of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative in London, which is partnering with the U.S. health institute, says there has been a steady increase in chronic illnesses in developing countries as people move to cities and adopt Western lifestyles.
“And now, these diseases are far and away the biggest killers in all countries nearly, apart from sub-Saharan Africa,” said Richard Smith. “And even soon in sub-Saharan Africa, they will be the major killers.”
Smith says the World Health Organization has attempted to coordinate a response to the problems of chronic illnesses. But, he says, most of the money earmarked by donor countries for chronic disease programs has gone toward fighting infectious disease.
“But we need to begin to respond to the problem of chronic disease,” he said. “And really this collaboration that we have with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is really one of the first programs where serious amounts of resources have been put into beginning to develop programs to try and at the very least slow down this pandemic and preferably begin to turn it around.”
In addition to developing education and treatment programs, Smith says the new centers will conduct clinical trials of drugs to treat chronic illness.
Elizabeth Nabel, Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, says the centers are being established at hospitals, academic centers and universities.
“They will be developing surveillance and prevention measures to monitor chronic disease situations in their countries,” said Elizabeth Nabel. “So it is most appropriate as they develop these methods to work closely with the ministry of health in their country to develop public health measures.”
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is providing $26 million in start-up money for the five year program, which was announced this week in the medical journal The Lancet.
© 2010 VOA
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Jessica Berman | Washington
Scientists have developed a computerized system for diabetics that takes the guesswork out of controlling their disease. The prototype artificial pancreas monitors and regulates the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood of people with type 1 diabetes.
People with type 1, or juvenile, diabetes must keep a watchful eye on their blood glucose levels because their pancreases are not working normally.
The pancreas is an organ that in healthy people secretes insulin to convert glucose into energy. But in people with juvenile diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin and blood sugar levels can get dangerously high. Failure to maintain tight control of glucose levels – by measuring blood sugar with a meter and compensating with doses of insulin – can result in serious health complications, including blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.
Edward Damiano, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, knows firsthand the challenge of managing juvenile diabetes.
“This is a condition that does not take holidays at all,” he said. “It’s a 24/7 kind of commitment, which is why it’s nice for me at this stage of my life to be able to take care of my son at night. But in seven years, he’s off to college. This has given me tremendous impetus to try and develop this technology and get it out there and make it available to people with type 1 diabetes before my son goes to college.”
Dr. Damiano has partnered with scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital to develop a computer program designed to run a system they call an artificial endocrine pancreas.
The system utilizes existing diabetic technology. The computer program continuously takes in data from a glucose monitor inserted into a patient’s vein and calculates the dose of artificial insulin that needs to be infused through an insulin pump.
The pump developed by researchers is a double pump – in addition to insulin, it automatically secretes glucagon, a hormone that taps glucose reserves in the liver, raising blood sugar levels when they get too low, a condition called hypoglycemia.
Dr. Damiano says the system restores, as nearly as possible, the body’s delicate metabolic balance.
“We’re bringing back to people with Type 1 diabetes not only the proper amount of insulin dosed correctly into the right amount, but also this ability to provide a little bit of glucagon after meals, if the insulin dosing turned out to be a little excessive. And that typically is enough to prevent people from becoming hypoglycemic. So it really prevents you from going low, and that’s its main function.”
Researchers ran trials of the software for the artificial pancreas with 11 diabetics. The system effectively controlled participants’ blood sugar for 27 hours, during which time they ate three high-carbohydrate meals and slept through the night at a hospital.
The artificial pancreas kept glucose levels within the target range for six participants. But the remaining five other patients did not respond as quickly to the insulin infusion and developed low blood sugar because the computer continued to administer medication.
Researchers adjusted their computer algorithm to the slower insulin absorption rate and on a repeat experiment blood glucose was tightly controlled in all of the subjects.
Steven Russell, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Diabetes Unit and co-author of the study, the next step is for researchers to develop a portable system about the size of a cellular telephone.
“The insulin pumps exist, the continuous glucose monitors exist. What’s really been missing is the right algorithm to connect the two components. Although we run it on a laptop [computer] so that we can monitor its operation, the algorithm itself doesn’t require a lot of computer power and could easily be run from a chip that has the capabilities of one that’s already in insulin pumps or in cell phones.”
With normal regulatory hurdles, Boston University’s Edward Damiano estimates that it could be between five and seven years before an artificial endocrine pancreas is commercially available.
Dr. Damiano says the system is not a cure, but it is the next best thing.
“It’s just something that hopefully will tide us over until hopefully a cure can be found,” he said. “But if it can’t be in the near term, it’s a far better solution than what people are doing right now. With all that decision-making on their own, this is basically coming in lieu of that.”
Researchers describe their artificial pancreas in this week’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
© 2010 VOA
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By Pam Adams
Barb Marks’ grandfather was diabetic. Her father was diabetic. Five of her seven siblings are diabetic. Family history shaped her outlook long before she was diagnosed with diabetes 15 years ago. Lately, it’s shaped her reading habits also. She reads food labels on everything when she shops for groceries, particularly products touted as “sugar-free.” “Anything that’s sugar-free for diabetics, you may as well look for aspartame,” she says. “It’s in everything, and that’s not a good thing.” Marks’ newfound concerns about the safety of aspartame put her in the middle of a bitter and long-running controversy.
On one side, a collection of health-conscious renegades say aspartame is bad and should be banned. They blame it for causing leukemias, lymphomas and other cancers. They claim it exacerbates problems with lupus, multiple sclerosis and diabetes and may even be responsible for the epidemic of diabetes. That’s just the beginning. Web sites with names like sweetpoison.com and aspartamekills.com leave no doubt about their position.
The artificial sweetener industry with support from the mainstream medical/health establishment – including the American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Association – holds down the other side. As the Calorie Control Council, an industry trade group, likes to point out, “Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients ever, with more than 200 scientific studies supporting its safety.” The Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and “regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe.”
Aspartame, better known as NutraSweet or Equal, is the most popular sugar substitute. Found in some 6,000 food products, it’s the sweetness alternative for millions of people watching their weight, if by no other means than drinking diet soda. Sugar-free products are of particular interest for diabetics who must control their sugar and carbohydrate intake to remain healthy. Popular as it is, the sugar-free industry is in an uphill battle with the Internet and the politics of word-of-mouth, which is how aspartame came to Marks’ attention. As part of a public relation strategy to change perceptions, the leading manufacturer of aspartame recently changed its brand name to AminoSweet.
Marks’ daughter, Brenda Marks, was talking to a friend, a nurse, who mentioned possible problems with aspartame. Brenda Marks told her mother. Together, they went online to see what information they could find. Then they threw out almost all of the food in Marks’ kitchen that had aspartame on the label. A 2008 Harris Poll found 61 percent of respondents believe artificial sweeteners are somewhat or not at all safe, compared to 21 percent who said they were extremely or very safe. Both Marks and her daughter, who is also a diabetic, say they mentioned their fears to their doctors, neither of whom said much more than there’s a big debate. “They just kind of leave you on your own,” Brenda Marks says. Local dieticians say they don’t get many queries or doubts from patients about aspartame’s safety.
“When we do, it’s usually from people who are more motivated, more involved in their care,” says Meghann Schwartz, a licensed dietician at Joslin Diabetes Center at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. But the seemingly never-ending parade of dueling research has changed how dieticians and diabetes educators talk to patients. Five years ago, questions about the safety of aspartame would have been answered with a ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ response. Now, Schwartz says, “The diabetes establishment has become more wary, but it hasn’t changed its position.” Schwartz and her colleague Ruth Towns urge patients to use moderation in all foods and ingredients. “The American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Association say aspartame is safe for consumption,” Towns emphasizes. “However, if someone wants to cut it out or cut it down, I say go for it.” Marks’ decision wouldn’t have changed no matter what her doctor told her. She has switched to Splenda, another sugar alternative gaining popularity.
At 71, she has seen her generation live longer with diabetes, and with fewer complications than her father’s generation. She and her siblings, she says, have learned more about exercising and managing what they eat, which is why the safety of sugar substitutes is important to her, even though she uses them in moderation. “In my family, we want to live a long time, and we want to keep our legs and feet,” she says.
Pam Adams can be reached at email@example.com.
Here is sobering news. The World Health Organization says more than one billion adults are fat, and at least 400 million people are obese. As old fashioned as it sounds, doctors say the best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. But for women who are middle aged or older, experts say one hour of daily exercise per day is necessary just to maintain weight. The heavier a woman is, the harder she will have to work – at cutting calories.
Life’s just not fair. Biologically speaking, women carry more body fat than men. They require fewer calories than men. For most men and women, fitting in an hour of moderately intense exercise in an already hectic day is difficult, if not impossible. But for many women, most hours are already filled with a full-time job and raising a family. At the end of the day, at least in the U.S., there is little incentive to prepare a real dinner when fast food is so available – and so much more fattening. But some women working out at a Boston gym say they would be willing to wedge that hourly workout into their day. “I would be willing to do it if it was going to maintain my weight and keep my health,” Jane Davern said. “All right, I would do it,” Jean Holmes states. “I would exercise to maintain my body weight, yes.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the percentage of overweight Americans increased 60 percent between 1991 and 2000. The World Health Organization says more than one billion adults in other nations are in the same shape. While there is advice aplenty on how to lose pounds or kilograms, a new study focuses on middle aged and older women who maintain normal body weight, or BMI (Body Mass Index) and do not diet. “We found that physical activity was effective in controlling weight only among women who started off with a normal BMI,” I-Min Lee states. She and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied data from 34,000 women, whose average age was 54.
During a 13-year period, the women were separated into three groups. The first group exercised daily for 60 minutes. The second exercised 30 minutes a day, and the third group worked out less than half an hour daily. “These two lesser activity groups of women were significantly more likely to gain weight,” she said. “Compared to the most active group of women.” During the study, the average weight of the participants went up by six pounds, or 2.7 kilograms.
So, what can overweight women do? Surprisingly, I-Min Lee and her colleagues found more exercise did not help. “Once a woman became overweight or obese, there was no relation between physical activity and weight change among these women,” Lee said. But I-Min Lee says heavier women should keep on exercising. “While our study shows that this might not be sufficient to maintain normal weight, it clearly is sufficient to reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, type two diabetes,” Lee explained. The researchers say while exercise helps prevent disease, the only way that heavier women can lose weight is to simply cut calories. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
© 2010 VOA