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Antibiotic Abuse Is On Track To Kill More People Than Cancer And Diabetes. Can Food Help?

Antibiotic abuse is on track to kill more people than cancer and diabetes. Can food help?

Antibiotic abuse is on track to kill more people than cancer and diabetes. Can food help?

England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies recently made headlines around the world when she again warned of an impending “post-antibiotic apocalypse.” Sounding no less disastrous, the World Health Organization has said that we’re “heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and [will] once again kill unabated.” How have we arrived here? And how can we protect ourselves while researchers race to find alternatives to antibiotics and new classes of bacteria-busting drugs?
For nearly a century, antibiotics have been overprescribed, under-regulated and misunderstood. Because of all the good they have done treating infectious diseases around the world, we, as doctors and as a society at-large, became excessively reliant on them to treat everything from acne to tuberculosis, pneumonia to urinary tract infections (UTIs) to gonorrhea. Antibiotics are also widely used for preterm babies and to support the immune system before and after surgeries, cancer treatments and organ transplants. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is nothing new—the father of antibiotics, Sir Walter Fleming, even warned of it in his Nobel Prize winner’s lecture—but it is accelerating. And while scientists were once constantly introducing new antibiotics to replace the ineffective ones, we are now decades behind in discovering and deploying new antibiotics.
In the meantime, more deadly bacteria grow resistant to the available antibiotics. “Nightmare bacteria” or “superbugs” have emerged, with a major report by economist Jim O’ Continue reading

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Combination of diabetes and heart disease substantially reduces life expectancy

Combination of diabetes and heart disease substantially reduces life expectancy

Life expectancy for people with a history of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes is substantially lower than for people with just one condition or no disease, a new study harnessing the power of ‘big data’ has concluded.
Our results highlight the importance of preventing heart disease and stroke amongst patients with diabetes, and likewise averting diabetes amongst heart disease patients
Researchers at the University of Cambridge analysed more than 135,000 deaths which occurred during prolonged follow-up of almost 1.2 million participants in population cohorts. They used this to provide estimates of reductions in life expectancy associated with a history of different combinations of diabetes, stroke, and/or myocardial infarction heart attack – so-called cardiometabolic diseases. Their results are published today in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).
The team analysed data from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration (ERFC) from almost 700,000 participants recruited between 1960 and 2007, taken from a total of 91 prospective cohorts that have recorded mortality during prolonged follow-up. They compared the results with those from the UK Biobank, a prospective cohort of just under 500,000 participants recruited between 2006 and 2010.
Previous studies have estimated that around 10 million adults in the United States and the European Union are living with more than one cardiometabolic illness. In this new study, the researchers found that around one person in a hundred from the cohorts they analysed had two or more conditions.
“We showed that h Continue reading

Does the drug that ‘fixed’ my diabetes have a dark side?

Does the drug that ‘fixed’ my diabetes have a dark side?

A while back, I wrote about how dapagliflozin revolutionised my glucose control. Almost overnight, I changed from a morbid and morbidly obese failing diabetic to a nearly new fifty-something with a rejuvenated lust for life. My HbA1c returned to normal levels and my retinopathy disappeared. I was advised to stop taking gliclazide as my glucose control seemed to be perfect, and I didn’t want to experience hypoglycaemia. I even stopped pricking my finger to measure my blood sugar. I felt my diabetes was behind me.
I had also discovered a low-carb diet I could live with: bacon and eggs, kebabs, lamb chops and steaks with mustard, hummus and delicious cheeses, all accompanied by lots of salads in mayonnaise, and non-starchy veggies. Yumm! I lost three stone effortlessly. It became embarrassing how many people remarked on how well I looked, having been a sickly fat blighter for all the time before.
I felt strong enough to take on a big project helping to plan and implement the regeneration of healthcare in my very rural locale. It involved lots of travelling to meet the public and speak frankly to them while thinking on my feet. I attended endless meetings and video conferences where I had to learn the tiresome new lingo of management-speak. All of this was done alongside my day and night job as a resident consultant in intensive care and anaesthesia.
Before even six months were up, I began to feel a bit flakey. My memory and concentration were not good. I was having difficulty keeping up with the meetings. I was prone to emotional lability, most noticeably at home, and, most Continue reading

Does Iron Overload Cause Diabetes and Heart Disease?

Does Iron Overload Cause Diabetes and Heart Disease?

Iron plays an essential role in many physiological processes, including oxygen transport and mitochondrial energy production. However, more iron is not necessarily better! The overaccumulation of iron in the body, a condition referred to as iron overload, has been implicated in the development of several chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Read on to learn why iron overload promotes the development of diabetes and heart disease and how iron reduction strategies can be used to beneficially alter the course of these diseases.
What is iron overload?
Iron overload occurs when excess iron accumulates in the body. The most common cause of iron overload is hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), an autosomal recessive genetic disorder that affects between one in 200 and one in 400 individuals and is caused by mutations in the HFE C282Y and H63D genes. (1) HH is characterized by significantly enhanced intestinal iron absorption and the abnormal accumulation of iron in bodily organs. Excess iron oxidatively damages cells and tissues, essentially “rusting” the body. This generates organ toxicity and promotes chronic disease processes.
However, a negative test result for the C282Y and H63D mutations does not mean a person is “off the hook” for iron overload. In fact, carriers of HFE mutations and people with moderately elevated iron levels also have an increased risk of health complications associated with iron overload. (2) Alarmingly, research indicates that iron overload may be a significant but greatly underappreciated cause of two widely prevalent chronic dis Continue reading

Manage Diabetes by Taking Care of Your Heart

Manage Diabetes by Taking Care of Your Heart

Editor’s note: In this, the ninth article in our year-long series on diabetes, learn about diabetes’ most serious complication.
Diabetes and heart disease are closely linked. What is harmful for diabetes almost always makes heart disease worse; and vice versa. Both diseases are partly caused by, as well as helped by, lifestyle choices. Let’s examine this close relationship.
Diabetes is a complex disease. It can cause many complications, including blindness, amputations, kidney disease, and problems with teeth, skin and nerves. The most serious problem caused by diabetes is heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease (CVD).
If you have diabetes, your risk for heart disease or stroke is two to four times greater than for non diabetics. In fact, more than 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Even when people with diabetes have their glucose levels under control, they still have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the National Institutes of Health, that’s because they are more likely to have:
High blood pressure (hypertension), common in people with diabetes, doubles the risk for heart disease.
High blood fat (lipids) levels, including high LDL cholesterol, low HDL (the “good” type of cholesterol) and high triglycerides. Cholesterol problems are also common in people with premature heart disease.
Obesity – being overweight causes harmful changes to the heart and is closely linked to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance (also called impaired insulin sensitivity) is a lipid disorder associated with diabetes Continue reading

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