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Type 2 Diabetes Rate Declines – Except for Blacks and Hispanics

8 Oct

Over the past two decades, the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes in adults doubled. Now for the first time, according to new research from the Centers For Disease Control, the rate has leveled off – at least for some in the population.

type-2-diabetes-rates-down-websize

The CDC reports that the total number of people living with diabetes increased an average of 0.6 percent annually between 2008 and 2012, to the current 8.3% of adults. Do the math and that’s nearly 21 million people over age 18 with diabetes, in the U.S. alone.

But the rates at which new cases are accumulating have slowed in certain population groups in recent years, a fact also confirmed in a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The CDC researchers said that the change may be due to another positive trend – the stabilization of obesity rates in the U.S.

“We are still seeing new and existing cases of diabetes going up, but the speed at which they are going up is leveling off,” said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “It gives us hope,” she says. “It’s important that we begin to slow down this runaway train.”

Unfortunately, the rate of type 2 diabetes continues to grow among blacks and Hispanics, the elderly, and those without a college education, according to the JAMA report. Those with a high school education or less were more than twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who have completed college.

What’s being done to slow the growth of type 2 diabetes?

Figures from the CDC show that nearly 48 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and more than 42 percent of Hispanics are obese, making them more vulnerable to developing type 2 diabetes. The CDC has had great success with its National Diabetes Prevention Program, a lifestyle change program that can cut a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes in half. However, the continued increase in diabetes rates among blacks, Hispanics and people with less than a high school education, reflects the difficulty in reaching these parts of the population with programs like the NDPP.

Albright sad, “You have to begin to look at things like poverty level, access to diabetes prevention services, and making sure that these services are culturally appropriate and easy for people to access.”

Reaching the Hispanic population

The American Diabetes Association says that roughly 13 percent of U.S. Latinos have diabetes, but many of them are undiagnosed. At Alivio Medical center, on the east side of Indianapolis, great strides have been made in educating their Hispanic patients. There, Fridays and Saturdays are known as “diabetes days”, with a focus on diabetes diagnosis and treatment. According to Dr. Alfredo Lopez-Yunez, he’s seen “… an explosion of new diagnoses. We diagnose maybe 10 new patients a month, which is staggering in this relatively small practice. Even more concerning is that we’re diagnosing them at an earlier age.” Dr. Lopez-Yunez said that type 2 diabetes among Latinos in their 20s and 30s would have been unheard of ten or twenty years ago.

“Right now I’m diagnosing people with Type 2 diabetes in their 20s, and this disease is going to be with them forever,” he said. The result of undiagnosed or unmanaged diabetes may be runaway heart disease, kidney disease, an impact on eye health, neuropathies, foot ulcers, and many other health complications.

Yogurt: A Superfood To Fight Type 2 Diabetes?

1 Jul

Good news for dairy lovers.

yogurt type 2 diabetes

A recent study found that those who ate low-fat, fermented dairy products like yogurt, were 24 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who ate little or none.

There’s new evidence which shows that eating fermented dairy products like low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The new findings are from the conclusions of an 11 year study of 3,500 men and women in Britain, whose eating and drinking habits were studied in detail.

Even when adjusted for obesity and genetic links for Type 2 diabetes, it was found that those who ate low-fat, fermented dairy products including yogurt and certain cheeses, were 24 percent less likely to develop the disease than the study participants who ate very little or none of the products. Curiously, only low-fat fermented dairy products had any affect – milk and full-fat fermented versions had no impact.

When isolated in the study, low-fat yogurt accounted for a 28 percent reduced risk in developing Type 2 diabetes. If study participants ate low-fat yogurt as a snack instead of salty chips or sugary snacks, their likelihood of developing the disease dropped by a whopping 47 percent.

Why does low-fat yogurt help to prevent Type 2 diabetes?

The study, published in the journal Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) , didn’t probe why yogurt and other dairy products had this affect, as it only tracked eating  habits and disease. But the paper’s authors suggest that probiotic bacteria and Vitamin K in yogurt and other fermented dairy products might be at the heart of the matter.

In previous studies, probiotic bacteria have been found to improve lipid profiles and antioxidant levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Low-fat fermented dairy products are also low energy-dense foods, due to their low fat and high water content. According to the authors, “Studies have shown an independent association of low energy-dense foods with lower fasting insulin levels and the metabolic syndrome and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”  Dairy products are also rich in Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and beneficial fatty acids.

“At a time when we have a lot of other evidence that consuming high amounts of certain foods, such as added sugars and sugary drinks, is bad for our health, it is very reassuring to have messages about other foods like yogurt and low-fat fermented dairy products that could be good for our health,” said lead author Nita Forouhi, an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge.

“In public-health terms this equates to 4.5 standard-size portions per week of low-fat fermented dairy products, largely composed of yogurt… and including low-fat unripened cheese such as low-fat cottage cheese,” Forouhi said.

But we should include a note of caution when buying yogurt in American supermarkets: Avoid flavored, pre-packaged yogurts and buy plain, unflavored low-fat yogurt instead. Flavored yogurts frequently contain extraordinary amounts of sugars and fillers, and may have very little actual yogurt. Instead, buy plain yogurt, and add your favorite fruit or seasonings like cinnamon for flavor. We also suggest that you include it in your breakfast, as the high protein in plain yogurt will keep the mid-morning hungries away.

A Sampling Of Free Apps To Manage Your Diabetes

16 May

When you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes, a radical change in your diet is nearly always required – and that can be a steep educational curve. You have to learn to monitor blood glucose levels, the difference between good carbs and bad carbs, what proper portion sizes are, take your blood glucose control medicine as prescribed, and begin an exercise program.

wavesense app

For those who embrace technology, smartphone and tablet apps can be very helpful in managing all of these tasks. The only problem is that a quick google search will show that there are more than 1,000 diabetes management apps available.

We combed through a number of sources to find a general consensus on what are considered the best FREE smartphone apps to manage your diabetes, and here are the results, in no particular order.

Please note that the free versions of some of these apps are “lite” versions. Full access with all of the bells and whistles may require a paid subscription.

Glooko

This is brilliant – a smartphone app that syncs with your blood glucose meter to keep track of your readings. Glooko also includes nutrition data from hundreds of grocery stores and restaurants so you make the right choices at the point of purchase. Glooko, like many other apps, allows you to share your data with your healthcare provider so they can analyze it and suggest changes.

dLife Diabetes Companion

The dLife Diabetes Companion claims to be “Your Ultimate Diabetes Lifestyle Manager and Tracker”. It enables you to “Track blood glucose levels, find diabetes friendly recipes, watch videos from dLifeTV, and get expert answers to your diabetes questions.”

WaveSense Diabetes Manager

Customers in the iTunes store give WaveSense 3.5 out of 4 stars. A review on EatRight.org states:, “The WaveSense Diabetes Manager app is one of the most useful free diabetes resources I’ve found in the App Store. This app would be a useful addition for anyone hoping to track his or her progress and make healthier decisions throughout the day.”

WaveSense Diabetes Manager offers a library of videos that can help you learn more about diabetes-friendly diets, how to make healthy lifestyle choices. It aso allows you to share your info with your medical provider.

Glucose Buddy

Glucose Buddy is a data storage utility.  Users manually enter glucose numbers, carbohydrate consumption, insulin dosages, and activities via smartphone, and then can view their data on a free GlucoseBuddy.com account.

Diabetic Audio Recipes Lite

The developers of Diabetic Audio Recipes Lite tells us, “Our delicious diabetes cookbook offers a selection of popular recipes for your daily menu or any dinner party. It includes a selection of simple, healthy, low sugar/ sugar free, low fat recipes for appetizers, breads, muffins, scones, desserts, condiments, side dishes and main dishes.” You can play the audio recipes with speed control, and listen to the audio while reading the recipes.

carb counter for diabetic kids

Lenny The Lion helps kids manage their diabetes.

dbees.com app

Not every diabetic is alike, so dbees gives each user the “freedom of personalization. It helps you manage your insulin, insulin pump, medications, and diet. It also allows you to set reminders, access your data online and send reports directly to your physician.

For Kids: Carb Counting With Lenny

Counting Carbs is an essential skill for managing diabetes, and Lenny The Lion makes it easy and fun for kids. Lenny increases their confidence in managing their diabetes and helps them maintain their blood glucose levels.

New Study Shows Big Diabetes Spike In Children

9 May

A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows an alarming increase in the rate of diabetes among those under twenty years of age: Type 1 Diabetes has increased by 21 percent, and  Type 2 diabetes has increased by 30 percent. The study tracked data reported by medical professionals between 2001 and 2009 from 3 million children in 5 states.

diabetes-in-children

The new study found a particularly big increase in Type 1 diabetes among black and hispanic youths. In Type 1 diabetes, a patient’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone required to control blood sugar levels. Historically, children affected by diabetes were most often white.

Dr. Dana Dabelea, the lead author of the study and a professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at the Colorado School of Public Health, called the increase in Type 1 diabetes among youth “particularly worrisome.” Statistically, some black and hispanic children have historically been less likely to control their high blood sugar, and were more likely to suffer complications of diabetes, like eye disease, kidney disease, heart disease and limb amputations. If that trend continues, it will be overwhelming for the public health system.

Type 2 diabetes is thought to occur when there is a genetic predisposition to insulin resistance, usually made worse by obesity and inactivity. Until the mid-90’s, Type 2 diabetes was very unusual to see in children, and was even called “adult-onset” diabetes. But during the last half of that decade, diabetes rates among youth started to inch up to what are now historically high levels and what some may classify as epidemic levels.  The study’s authors believe that the uptick may be the result of “minority population growth, obesity, exposure to diabetes in utero and perhaps endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”

Unfortunately, this increase among youth will have vast public health consequences. As the children become young adults, they will suffer the complications and side effects of living a decade or more with diabetes. Additionally, their children, having been exposed to the disease in utero, will also be at risk for diabetes.

The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health and is part of a continuing study, Search for Diabetes in Youth, examining the condition among children.

Learn how PA Foot and Ankle Associates is helping to find a cure for diabetes.

Diabetes May Shrink Your Brain

20 Mar
As if having Type 2 diabetes wasn’t bad enough, there’s now evidence that diabetes contributes to a reduction in the size of your brain.

According to new research, the onset of Type 2 diabetes in middle age, especially when combined with high blood pressure, may actually reduce the size of your brain, when compared to those who do not have diabetes. Those who developed diabetes after 65 showed no significant brain impact from the disease, suggesting that the damage is caused over decades.

What’s the impact of diabetes over decades? Diminished memory and early onset of dementia.

According to researcher Rosebud O. Roberts, M.B, CH.B, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, “Our study shows that the earlier you have these conditions, the worse your brain pathology is late in life.”

Cognitive decline goes hand-in-hand with aging. When diabetes is added to the mix, this decline accelerates. Diabetes is thought to hamper blood circulation and weaken tiny blood vessels in the brain, which causes tissue damage and necrosis (tissue death). This new research suggests that the altered glucose metabolism in the brains of diabetics may also lead to the decay of neurons, the cells which transmit signals between nerves. In either case, the progressive brain damage leads to diminished mental functions required for day-to-day tasks – like taking your diabetes medicine. Forgetfulness then creates a vicious cycle of poor blood sugar management, which in turn worsens the decline in cognitive abilities. The end resut may be dementia, Alzheimer’s, or stroke.

How big is the difference between diabetic and non-diabetic brains? On average, those who developed diabetes in middle age had brains that were nearly 3 percent smaller, and their hippocampi were 4 percent smaller than those of non-diabetics. The hippocampus is the area of the brain which controls emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system, responsible for functions like digestion, breathing, and heartbeat.

“When your hippocampus begins to shrink, you begin to lose your long-term memory and your ability to remember recent events,” said Roberts, who also is a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “If you have type 2 diabetes, you have an increased risk of brain damage, but if you control your diabetes well, it should reduce the damage that is being caused in your brain.” And people with high blood pressure in midlife were twice as likely to have damage caused by micro-strokes to the hippocampus.

The bottom line? If you develop hypertension or Type 2 diabetes around middle age or younger, you can limit its impact on your brain – and all of your other organs for that matter – by controlling your blood sugar with exercise, diet, and medication.

Type 2 Diabetes: Easy to Prevent, Difficult to Cure

19 Feb
It’s no secret that Type 2 diabetes is at epidemic levels worldwide. In fact, China announced in the summer of 2013 that they have more Type 2 diabetics than any other nation. Type 2 diabetes is also showing up in teens and adolescents with alarming frequency. If the spread of the disease continues at its current rate, the CDC estimates that there will be nearly half a billion type 2 diabetics worldwide in 2030.

how to prevent diabetes

What’s most alarming about type 2 diabetes and difficult for the newly-diagnosed to absorb, are the devastating long-term consequences of the disease. The list of diabetes-related complications is long: cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mild to severe nerve damage, blindness, circulation problems which lead to the amputation of a toe, foot, or leg, and many other problems. In fact, diabetes has become the 7th leading cause of death.

A remarkable fact is that 9 out of 10 cases of Type 2 diabetes are completely preventable. Simply by keeping weight under control, exercising, eating a proper diet, and not smoking, all but the most genetically predetermined cases could be avoided. But unlike many other diseases, the early symptoms of diabetes can be very subtle, and creeps up on a person over a period of years. Sometimes a patient has no idea they have diabetes until they’re laying in a hospital ER with out of control blood glucose levels.

“Information from several clinical trials strongly supports the idea that type 2 diabetes is preventable. The Diabetes Prevention Program examined the effect of weight loss and increased exercise on the development of type 2 diabetes among men and women with high blood sugar readings that hadn’t yet crossed the line to diabetes. In the group assigned to weight loss and exercise, there were 58 percent fewer cases of diabetes after almost three years than in the group assigned to usual care. Even after the program to promote lifestyle changes ended, the benefits persisted: The risk of diabetes was reduced, albeit to a lesser degree, over 10 years.  Similar results were seen in a Finnish study of weight loss, exercise, and dietary change, and in a Chinese study of exercise and dietary change.”  – Harvard School Of Public Health

The Harvard School of Public health has suggestions as to how you can prevent Type 2 diabetes

1. Control your weight. Being overweight increases the chance that you’ll develop diabetes, sevenfold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop the disease. But there’s hope, if you fall into one of those categories – lose 10% of your body weight and your chances of developing the disease decrease by half.

2. Get moving. Inactivity increases your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles regularly improves their ability to utilize glucose and insulin, but this doesn’t necessarily mean pumping iron in a gym. In fact, studies have shown that walking briskly for 30 minutes every day reduces your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.

Are you a television junkie? New research concludes that this particular form of inactivity – sitting motionless, staring at the screen for hours – actually increases your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 20 percent (not to mention the potential cardiovascular issues you’ll develop). We also tend to eat more when we’re parked in front of the TV, spurred on by all of the suggestions in the commercials.

3. Improve your diet.

a. Choose whole grains over highly processed white flour/white sugar products. In the Nurses’ Health Studies for example, researchers looked at the whole grain consumption of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 18 years. Women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains. When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.

Whole wheat doesn’t contain a magic ingredient – it’s the opposite effect. White rice, white bread, mashed potatoes, donuts, bagels, and similar foods cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which over time can lead to type 2 diabetes. Substitute whole grains for white, and they break down more slowly in your gut, which slows down the speed at which your blood sugars rise. You’ll also eat less of them compared to white flour products, because the fiber will make you feel full.

b. Skip the sugar in beverages. Since the beginning of time, your body’s preferred beverage was water, followed a thousand years later by tea, and then coffee. Beverages with high amounts of sugar – sodas, fruit juices**, fruit cocktails, energy drinks, Kool Aid, and the like – spike blood sugar quickly and put a load of stress on insulin levels. There is also mounting evidence that sugary drinks contribute to chronic inflammation, increased insulin resistance, high triglyceride levels, and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels, all of which are risk factors for diabetes.

c. Swap good fats for bad fats

Good: liquid vegetable oils, nuts, seeds.

Bad: margarines, fats used in packaged baked goods and fast food, and products which include “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on their label.

d. Avoid red meat and processed meat. Many people believe that they can’t live without a serving of meat every day, yet nothing is further from the truth. While it’s true that we need plenty of protein in our diet, we can easily substitute beans, nuts, and whole grains instead. You’ll also feel a bit lighter and less bloated doing so.

New research has indicated that red meat and processed meat may actually increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s not completely understood why this is so, but scientists believe that the high iron levels in red meat may be to blame, or the sodium and preservatives in processed meats.

4. Kick the habit. In addition to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease, smoking cigarettes is now linked to Type 2 diabetes as well. Smokers are 50% more likely than non-smokers to become diabetic, and heavy smokers are at an even higher risk.

To sum it up, diabetes in most cases can be prevented by eating right and getting regular, moderate exercise, both of which will keep your weight under control.

**Note that fruit juices are included in the list, but this is not to say that juice fresh-squeezed by you from an orange or grapefruit is bad for you. Bottled fruit juices – even those that are labeled 100%fruit juice – in most cases have had their sugar content boosted by partially dehydrating the juice. When the water is reduced, the sugar content goes up. Notice the difference between the juice you squeeze from a fresh orange and the o.j. that comes in a carton. Night and day.

How much sugar is hiding in your food?

7 Feb

You may have cut out adding white sugar to your cereal or coffee, but did you know that you’re still getting loads of sugar in many of the products you buy?

sugars hidden in food

Sure, you realize that there’s sugar in the obvious things like candy, soda, snack cakes and cookies. But do you also know that there’s lots of added sugar in products like spaghetti sauce, tonic water, fruit cocktail, fruit punch, frozen pancakes, baked beans, canned soup, ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, flavored popcorn, energy drinks, and even granola?

These added sources of sugar multiply quickly in your diet, but are quite mysterious to most consumers. When food manufacturers add sugar to a product, the label doesn’t always list it as “sugar”, because it takes many forms: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, corn starch, dextroglucose, evaporated cane sugar, maltodextrin, or dozens of other names. And on “natural” labels, you might see brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or pear juice. Yep, they’re added sugars, too. Here’s an excellent primer on sugars from Colorado State University.

So how do you know if sugar is added to your food?

The safest thing to assume about prepared food that comes in a bottle, bag, or a box (including any and all fast food) is that sugar has been added to it, and probably in copious amounts. Manufacturers do this because quite frankly, we humans love it and can’t seem to get enough of it. But unfortunately, we’ve so overloaded our bodies with it, that new research has even linked sugar to heart disease, even in those who aren’t obese or diabetic. The study also proves a link between sugar and high blood pressure, inflammation, and unhealthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Very sobering.

Here’s an infographic from the Cleveland Clinic on hidden sugars.

hidden sugar in food

Click for full size

How to reduce sugar in your diet

If there is no added sugar in a product, the manufacturer will most likely note that on the front of the package, or the packaging will describe it as “100% (something)”. The simplest way to avoid added sugar in your diet is to spend more time in the kitchen cooking your own meals, just like your grandma did. It doesn’t have to be difficult – a box of 100% whole wheat pasta and a can of tomatoes (not sauce) is the start of an excellent, nutrition-rich meal. Or brown rice and a can of black beans. Roast a chicken on the weekend and pick it apart for sandwiches during the week, and throw pieces in your tomatoes and pasta for a cacciatore. Cook a big pot of soup or stew on the weekend and use it in the first half of the week. You get the idea.

And become a label reader in the supermarket. There’s no shame in it, and you and your family will get a lot healthier.

Read more: Harvard School of Public Health: Added Sugar in the diet.

Coffee Found To Cut Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

22 Nov

coffee type 2 diabetesWell, if you couldn’t find a reason for drinking more coffee, you have one now. Recent studies have shown that coffee not only reduces the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s but also lowers blood glucose levels in Type 2 diabetics.

In an analysis of previous studies, researchers discovered that 2 or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day decreased your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 12 percent. “Unleaded” coffee offered some reduction, but much less than caffeinated.

Additionally, research reported by the World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes showed that 3-4 cups of regular coffee each day may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by a whopping 25 percent. This report also showed that regular coffee was much more protective among women of all ethnic groups than decaffeinated.

What’s the secret ingredient in caffeinated coffee that lowers blood glucose?

The researchers who conducted the study haven’t pinpointed exactly why coffee has this affect, but they suspect it may be the action of one of the plant compounds found in the magic bean, chlorogenic acid (CGA). In previous studies, CGA has been shown to slow the absorption of glucose.

Dr. Joe Vinson, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania), said that coffee is a major dietary source of chlorogenic acid. CGA occurs naturally in apples, cherries, plums, and other fruits and vegetables, and in copious amounts in green and unroasted coffee beans. But the high temps used to roast coffee breaks down much of the CGA, so Vinson suggests that to get the greatest benefit, one should eat the green or unroasted coffee beans, or take green coffee extract as a dietary supplement. In fact, in a previous study, Vinson found that overweight and obese people who took the extract lost 10 percent of their body weight in 22 weeks. “There was a significant dose-response effect of the green coffee extract and no apparent gastrointestinal side effects,” Vinson said. In other words, the higher the dose of green coffee extract, the more the study participant’s blood glucose was lowered. 

But researchers at UCLA have another theory. They discovered that women who drank 4 cups of caffeinated coffee each day had higher levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). This chemical regulates the body’s sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, which are thought by some to play a role in Type 2 diabetes. They found that women who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee each day had significantly higher levels of SHBG than those who drank no coffee. These coffee drinkers were also 56 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. And once again, the researchers found that drinking decaffeinated coffee offered no protection.

Of course, your best defense against diabetes is a healthy diet, and perhaps now, coffee too. Make mine a vat!coffee protects against type 2 diabetes

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