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Can An Online Game Really Improve Blood Sugar Control For People With Diabetes?

Can an online game really improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes?

Can an online game really improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes?

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When it comes to serious health problems, you might think a game would be unlikely to help. But a recent study of people with diabetes could change your mind.
Researchers publishing in the September 2017 issue of Diabetes Care describe a study in which people with diabetes joined a competitive online game aimed at educating participants about ways to improve blood sugar control. The results were encouraging.
How a game led to improved blood sugars
In this new research, 456 patients with poorly controlled diabetes were randomly assigned to one of two groups:
Group 1 participated in an online or phone-based educational game that asked two questions about managing diabetes each week for six months. Later, answers and explanations were provided. This group also received a booklet about civics, including questions about citizenship in the US.*
Group 2 received online or phone-based questions about civics each week for six months along with a booklet about diabetes self-management.*
(*The researchers wanted to have a control group that was just like the diabetes management game group, except instead of diabetes information they provided information on civics. Both groups got a civics lesson and diabetes information; the only difference was how that information was delivered. That way investigators could say with more confidence it was the game that improved blood sugars.)
Each participant was assigned to a team. Points were awarded for correct answers, and scores were posted so other participants could compare team and individual performance (wi Continue reading

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Insulin Pump Therapy for Kids

Insulin Pump Therapy for Kids

There’s no doubt that interest in insulin pumps is up among people with diabetes. In fact, the most commonly asked question of the staff at the Yale Children’s Diabetes Program in New Haven, Connecticut, is, “Am I a candidate for the pump?” or “Is my child a candidate for the pump?” In many cases, the answer is yes.
Let’s have a look at what makes a child a good candidate for a pump and what’s involved in getting started using one. As you read, keep in mind that this article describes primarily how the Yale Children’s Diabetes Program operates. As in all aspects of diabetes care, there are many “right” ways of doing things, and the diabetes center in your area may do things differently. If you are interested in any of the methods or products mentioned in this article, please check with your health-care team before making changes in your child’s diabetes-care routine.
Who’s a pump candidate?
The children who are most likely to be offered a pump at Yale are those who are working very hard to maintain normal blood glucose levels, those who are not meeting goals, those who ask about pump treatment and how it might help them, and those whose episodes of hypoglycemia or high blood glucose are affecting their school work, sports performance, and normal, day-to-day living.
However, pump treatment will succeed only if both child and parents are motivated and have reasonable expectations of what a pump can and can’t achieve. They must understand that a pump is only as good as the person operating it. In addition, parents need to be reliable, and a child mu Continue reading

Are Obesity-Related Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Autoimmune Diseases?

Are Obesity-Related Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Autoimmune Diseases?

Obesity and associated insulin resistance predispose individuals to develop chronic metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although these disorders affect a significant proportion of the global population, the underlying mechanisms of disease remain poorly understood. The discovery of elevated tumor necrosis factor-α in adipose tissue as an inducer of obesity-associated insulin resistance marked a new era of understanding that a subclinical inflammatory process underlies the insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction that precedes type 2 diabetes. Advances in the field identified components of both the innate and adaptive immune response as key players in regulating such inflammatory processes. As antigen specificity is a hallmark of an adaptive immune response, its role in modulating the chronic inflammation that accompanies obesity and type 2 diabetes begs the question of whether insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes can have autoimmune components. In this Perspective, we summarize current data that pertain to the activation and perpetuation of adaptive immune responses during obesity and discuss key missing links and potential mechanisms for obesity-related insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes to be considered as potential autoimmune diseases.
Traditional autoimmune diseases involve a wide spectrum of clinical pathology and include diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. A disease is considered autoimmune if its pathology is dictated by a se Continue reading

Diabetes And Influenza: A Dangerous Combination

Diabetes And Influenza: A Dangerous Combination

Nov. 14, 2017 is World Diabetes Day, the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign that aims to unite the global diabetes community to produce a powerful voice to highlight the realities and threats of dealing with this chronic medical condition.
Diabetes is a major threat to health globally.
In the U.S., diabetes rates have almost doubled in the past two decades, from 5.5 percent in 1994 to 9.3 percent in 2012. An estimated 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the U.S. population, had diabetes in 2015. The CDC projects that one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050. More than one-quarter of seniors (ages 65 and older) has diabetes (25.9 percent, or 11 million seniors). In the European region, about 60 million people have diabetes, or about 10.3 percent of men and 9.6 percent of women aged 25 years and over. In Africa, the rate of diabetes remains low, but the number of people living with diabetes has dramatically increased from 4 million in 1980 to 25 million in 2014. More than 60 percent of those with diabetes live in Asia, with nearly half in China and India combined. The Asia Pacific region has 138 million people with diabetes, and the number may increase to 201 million by 2035.
The prevalence of diabetes is increasing mostly due to increases in obesity, unhealthy eating habits and decreased physical inactivity. Globally, diabetes kills about 3.4 million people annually. WHO projects that diabetes deaths will double between 2005 and 2030.
Diabetes itself is not a major problem unless the blood glucose is uncontrolled and either rises too high or drops too lo Continue reading

Diabetes-Related Leg Cramps: How to Prevent and Treat

Diabetes-Related Leg Cramps: How to Prevent and Treat

Being suddenly woken up by a painful knot in your calf—or frozen toes—isn't fun. Here's what diabetes has to do with it and what you do to stop the pain.
Perhaps you’ve been there—in the middle of a perfectly restful night of sleep you are abruptly woken up by an intense pain from a cramping muscle, typically in your foot or calf.
Although the exact cause of muscle cramps is still up for debate, they are frequently linked to poor flexibility and muscle fatigue. A smaller body of research also suggests that diabetes can increase your risk of experiencing leg cramps, potentially due to swings in blood sugar levels, certain medications, and long-term complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).1,2 With or without diabetes, these cramps are characterized by the sudden, involuntary, and painful tightening (contraction) of a muscle. They occur most frequently in the evenings in the following muscle groups:
Calf muscles (back of the lower leg)
Hamstrings (back of the thigh)
Quadriceps (front of the thigh)
Cramps can also occur in the hands, feet, arms, neck, and abdomen
What causes these painful cramps and how can I prevent them?
“Although the exact cause of muscle cramps remains unknown, they are not inevitable,” says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE. While cramps may seemingly come on without warning, knowing the factors and situations that can cause muscle cramps can help you understand them, prevent them, and treat them. Here, some reasons for cramps and what you can do to avoid them:
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Glucose is required for mu Continue reading

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