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Diabetes In Numbers: The Worrying Statistics

Diabetes in numbers: the worrying statistics

Diabetes in numbers: the worrying statistics

OVER THE PAST thousand years of medical progress, the human race has seen a slow but steady increase in human longevity. Although the occasional plague, famine or war will lead to a mortality peak in a generation, by and large each new wave of humanity is healthier than the last. But it seems that this encouraging trend is about to change.
A study published in 2015 revealed that middle-aged white Americans are dying at younger ages than their parents for the first time in decades, and as with all trends, where the US leads, the UK and Europe are certain to follow soon after. In fact, there are many similar studies suggesting that today’s children may go on to lead shorter lives than their parents.
To explain these trends, experts have looked at two main factors – firstly “deaths of despair” such as opioid overdoses, suicides and complications from long-term alcohol abuse. In 2015, 52 000 Americans died of drug overdoses alone, more than those who died per annum of HIV/AIDS during the epidemic’s peak years in the mid 90s. Almost half of these deaths were due to opioid-based drugs, such as heroin or the much stronger synthetic opioid fentanyl. Secondly, a more recent study has linked diabetes to the increase in American mortality. Whilst in 1958 only 0.93 per cent of the US population was diagnosed diabetic, now 7.02 per cent (nearly 30 million people) of the country live with the disease. The number has grown three-fold since the early 1990s, rising with the ever-increasing obesity rates.
Approximately 368 million people on Earth were living with the disease in 201 Continue reading

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Decoding the diabetic diet

Decoding the diabetic diet

A focus on carb- and portion-control should be top priority, but that doesn't mean the occasional treat is out of the question
A crucial tool in controlling diabetes is being vigilant about what you put in your mouth. But, some experts say, you don't have to be a slave to the glycemic index or banish cake and ice cream forever.
The primary goal for diabetics is to regulate their blood glucose (sugar) levels because they can't rely on their bodies to naturally produce enough insulin, the hormone that shuttles glucose from the bloodstream into cells. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin, while with Type 2, the pancreas progressively makes less and less insulin or the body has difficulty using it (known as insulin resistance).
Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to long-term organ damage, resulting sometimes in heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney failure, foot amputation or death, studies show.
Anyone with diabetes should meet with a dietitian to formulate a meal plan tailored to their particular needs, experts say. But there are some general best practices.
Carbohydrate-rich foods, which break down into glucose during digestion, are of principal concern in a diabetic's diet. Those who use mealtime insulin injections — usually Type 1 diabetics and some Type 2 diabetics — typically have to count the grams of carbohydrates they eat at each meal so that they can give themselves the appropriate insulin dose.
But carbs are not the enemy or the only factor.
"What matters most is how much people eat," said certified diabetes educator Marion Franz, a Min Continue reading

Pancreatic cancer and diabetes – a cellular case of chicken and egg

Pancreatic cancer and diabetes – a cellular case of chicken and egg

We’ve all heard the age-old question about the chicken and the egg.
Well scientists studying the link between diabetes (a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly) and pancreatic cancer are facing a similar conundrum. It seems there’s a link between the two conditions, but it’s not clear which one comes first.
While the majority of people with diabetes will never develop pancreatic cancer, the question of whether diabetes could be a cause or a consequence of pancreatic cancer is an important one.
Answering this could help scientists better understand the biology of these two conditions, and might help spot people at higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
So, as it’s pancreatic cancer awareness month, we’ve dug into the evidence to see what is known about these links, and which questions remain unanswered.
We know there’s a link
Doctors first started exploring the possibility of a link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer in the 1940s and 1950s.
Several reports had come out saying that patients with pancreatic cancer were more likely to also have diabetes than other people. This has been shown for type 2 diabetes as well as type 1 and young onset diabetes.
Since then, many studies have shown a link between the two conditions. Overall, it seems that people with diabetes are around twice as likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than the general population.
And this makes sense, given that diabetes and pancreatic cancer are diseases that both affect the pancreas.
The next big question is: how does t Continue reading

No More Finger Prick. New Technology May Help with Diabetes Management.

No More Finger Prick. New Technology May Help with Diabetes Management.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes technology and medications have come a long way since the invention of insulin in 1921.
But day-to-day management still requires countless finger pricks to draw blood and measure glucose levels.
FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, manufactured by Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. and officially approved on September 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), strives to be a true game-changer for people with diabetes.
Unlike the Dexcom or Medtronic’s Guardian and Enlite continuous glucose monitors (CGM), which require a minimum of twice-daily finger pricks to calibrate the CGM’s readings with that of a traditional blood glucometer, the Libre system requires zero calibration.
The technology is still similar in that the Libre also uses a small sensor wire that a patient inserts into their subcutaneous tissue.
This sensor measures glucose levels in the interstitial (body fat) fluid versus glucose in the bloodstream.
How the device works
Where the technology continues to differ greatly is in how the glucose levels measured by the sensor wire are then reported to the person using it.
From the get-go, the Libre requires a lengthy 12-hour startup period before the sensor is able to measure and report glucose levels while the Dexcom and Medtronic sensors startup window is a mere two hours.
The most significant difference between these technologies is that the Libre isn’t “continuous.”
When a patient wants to measure their blood glucose level, the Libre requires them to wave a small handheld “mobile reader” over the part of the bo Continue reading

Is Going Organic the Way to Go?

Is Going Organic the Way to Go?

As a person with diabetes, you’ve most likely given some thought to what you choose to eat. Perhaps you’re counting carbohydrates or following a tailored eating plan; maybe you’re careful to make heart-healthy food choices or are trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet to help you lose weight. Whatever nutritional path you’ve headed down, undoubtedly you’ve noticed the ever-growing availability of organic foods.
Years ago, the term “organic” may have conjured up images of people with long hair eating bowls of granola or tofu and brown rice purchased at a health-food store. Things are different today.
Organic foods can be found right in your local grocery store and even in the closest Wal-Mart. And not all organic products are necessarily what you’d expect, either. Beer, wine, vodka, cosmetics, and even clothing are now all available in organic versions.
The decision whether to buy, say, organic bananas rather than regular bananas often boils down to the price. According to an article in Consumer Reports in 2006, almost two-thirds of US consumers bought organic foods and beverages in 2005, which was up from approximately half of consumers in 2004. Organic products are part of a fast-growing industry.
What do the terms mean?
Organic foods in the United States are regulated by US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since 2002, national standards have been implemented to help consumers make informed decisions when buying organic foods. This stemmed from the Organic Foods Production Act passed by Congress in 1990, which charged the USDA with Continue reading

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