Birdseed Turned Superfood May Help Curb India’s Diabetes Scourge

Birdseed Turned Superfood May Help Curb India’s Diabetes Scourge

Birdseed Turned Superfood May Help Curb India’s Diabetes Scourge

Millets are poised for a comeback amid government subsidies
Diabetes may afflict 123.5 million people in India by 2040
Podiatrist Vinaya A.S. has bumped across southern India in a bus-turned mobile clinic for 17 years, going village to village checking feet for the ulcer-causing effects of diabetes. These days, her key to staving off limb amputations comes down to one thing: food.
Millets, to be precise. The ancient grains were a staple in India for thousands of years, but largely spurned since a so-called Green Revolution last century led to cheaper, more abundant supplies of refined rice and wheat flour that can bolster blood-sugar. Now a surge in type-2 diabetes is pushing doctors and government officials to recommend a return to wholegrains, like “ragi” or finger millet, that healthfully sustained previous generations.
“Food is your medicine — you need to eat right,” Vinaya, 48, told a group of villagers in Doddaballapur, on the outskirts of Bangalore, last month. “Bring the fiber-rich ragi back to your plates, along with fruits and vegetables.”
Healthy food choices are becoming critical in India, where diabetes is ripping through the population with deadly consequences. The number of adults living with the disease has risen more than five fold since 1980, though more than half of sufferers aren’t aware they have it. Left uncontrolled, high blood-sugar levels can damage organs and tissues, including the nerves and blood vessels in the feet, making them susceptible to injuries that fail to heal and eventually turn gangrenous. When that happens, amputation Continue reading

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How 5 cities are working to wipe out diabetes

How 5 cities are working to wipe out diabetes

[Image: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni]
By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will be city dwellers, the result of a trend towards rapid urbanisation that presents both new opportunities and challenges.
On the one hand, people are drawn to the social and economic possibilities of an urban life, which also brings them closer to health services. On the other hand, certain aspects of city lifestyles are contributing to new and fast-moving public health challenges on an unprecedented scale. Over the next 25 years, the number of people with diabetes will be upwards of half a billion. Three in four of these people will call a city home.
In 2014, recognising the importance of healthy, liveable cities, Novo Nordisk partnered with University College London (UCL) and Steno Diabetes Centre on the Cities Changing Diabetes programme.
The partnership aims to put urban diabetes at the top of the global healthcare agenda, and firmly in the consciousness of those designing and managing the cities of the future. We are working to provide a credible, international understanding of the problem and in turn provide a blueprint for actions that improve individual and public health.
Research led by UCL has already begun to shed light on the challenge and helps us understand what makes city dwellers vulnerable to diabetes. Findings from partner cities Mexico City, Houston, Shanghai, Tianjin and Copenhagen show, for the first time, the significant role played by social and cultural factors in diabetes risk factors.
The factors identified include time pressure, financial constraints, cultural food t Continue reading

9 Things Diabetics Must Watch Out for in Summer

9 Things Diabetics Must Watch Out for in Summer

Nerve damage
The typical type 2 diabetes complications—think high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease—worsen in the heat of summer and mean that your exercise performance may suffer. "The summer season and heat and humidity go hand-in-hand, which can cause complications for people who have diabetes for several reasons," says Maria Subang, MD, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado endocrinologist. For example, 60 to 70 percent of Americans with diabetes have nerve damage that can affect multiple organs in the body, including sweat glands, which help naturally cool our body. "The inability to stay cool can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is a medical emergency," says Dr. Subang.
First, people with diabetes should take note of these 10 things to remember about blood sugar and and alcohol, since getting enough fluids period is a huge concern. Now add in hot summer days and you could be looking at higher glucose levels, which can mean more trips to the bathroom to pee, causing dehydration. "High blood sugars increase the risk of dehydration, so it is especially important to keep well-hydrated," says Sarah Rettinger, MD, board-certified endocrinologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica. Sipping iced tea, sugary sodas, or booze can give you the false impression you're drinking plenty because you're not thirsty, but beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or sugar can be dehydrating and impact blood sugar levels. "Dehydration can further tax the body and lead to even higher blood sugars, creating a vicious cycle." If your pee is Continue reading

Eating fruit significantly cuts diabetes risk - but drinking juice INCREASES it, says study

Eating fruit significantly cuts diabetes risk - but drinking juice INCREASES it, says study

Eating fruit significantly cuts diabetes risk - but drinking juice INCREASES it, says study
Eating blueberries, grapes, apples and pears cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes but drinking fruit juice can increase it, a large study has found.
Experts from the UK, Singapore and a team from Harvard School of Public Health in the US have examined whether certain fruits impact on type 2, which affects more than 3,000,000 people in Britain.
The scientists found that blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples and pears were especially protective, while drinking fruit juice could increase the risk of developing the condition by as much as 8 percent.
People who ate three standard servings of blueberries a week had a 26 percent lower chance of developing the condition, they found.
Those who replaced fruit juices with three helpings of particular whole fruits a week, including apples and pears could expect a 7 percent drop in their risk of developing type 2.
Eating different fruits affected an individual's chances of developing the condition in different ways, the research suggests.
Those eating grapes and raisins had a 12 percent reduced risk. Prunes also had a protective effect, giving an 11 percent drop in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Other fruits such as bananas, plums, peaches and apricots had a negligible impact but drinking fruit juice increased the risk by 8 per cent, according to the study.
For individual fruits, replacing three servings a week of fruit juice with blueberries cut the risk by 33 percent while replacing juice with grapes and raisins cut the risk by 19 Continue reading

Is the finger-stick blood test necessary for type 2 diabetes treatment?

Is the finger-stick blood test necessary for type 2 diabetes treatment?

Chapel Hill, NC - In a landmark study, UNC School of Medicine researchers have shown that blood glucose testing does not offer a significant advantage in blood sugar control or quality of life for type 2 diabetes patients who are not treated with insulin. The paper, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, details findings from a randomized trial called "The MONITOR Trial." This study is the first large pragmatic study examining glucose monitoring in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic afflicting one in 11 people in the United States. For those treated with insulin, checking blood sugar with a finger stick at home is an accepted practice for monitoring the effects of insulin therapy. However, the majority of type 2 diabetes patients are not treated with insulin. These patients, too, are often recommended glucose monitoring, despite an ongoing debate about its effectiveness in controlling diabetes or improving how patients feel.
"Our study results have the potential to transform current clinical practice for patients and their providers by placing a spotlight on the perennial question, 'to test or not to test?'" said Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and Professor and Director of Research at UNC Family Medicine.
During the study, 450 patients were assigned to one of three groups: no blood sugar monitoring, once daily glucose monitoring, or enhanced once-daily glucose monitoring with an internet-delivered tailored message of encouragement or instruction.
The trial lasted one year. By the end:
There were no significant differences in blood glucose Continue reading

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