Should I Get A Flu Shot If I Have Diabetes?

Should I Get a Flu Shot if I Have Diabetes?

Should I Get a Flu Shot if I Have Diabetes?

Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes puts you at increased risk of illness because elevated blood sugar weakens the immune system. Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself.
Fall is here, and that means that along with pumpkins and hay rides, it’s influenza (flu) season—which can last until May.
For those with diabetes, flu isn’t just a drag: It can result in hospitalization, and occasionally even death. Fortunately, a vaccine can slash your risk of the illness by an estimated 40-60%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu shot also lowers your chances of hospitalization, which is most common in flu patients with chronic conditions like diabetes.
The vaccine can also “prevent major respiratory infections during the flu season,” says Kavita Seetharaman, MD, staff physician at Joslin Diabetes Center, a Boston-based non-profit affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
Why Is the Flu So Dangerous for People with Diabetes?
“As with any other infection, the flu virus can cause inflammation, congestion, and mucus production in the respiratory tract,” as well as cough, fever, and even breathing difficulties, Dr. Seetharaman says.
But for diabetes patients, there’s another risk. “When patients with diabetes are not feeling well,” due to illness, infection, or injury, “they can become more insulin resistant. Blood sugar rises [even if patients aren’t eating], and ketones can develop,” she explains. Ketones are chemicals that are produced when there’s not enough glucose (sugar) to fuel the metabolism; the p Continue reading

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Metformin diabetes drug could extend lifespan

Metformin diabetes drug could extend lifespan

Metformin is approved in the US as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. A new study by Cardiff University, UK, involving over 180,000 people, reveals that the drug could also increase the lifespan of those individuals who are non-diabetics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are around 29.1 million people in the US with diabetes, equating to 9.3% of the population.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of diabetes cases and is usually associated with older age, obesity and physical inactivity, family history of type 2 diabetes or a personal history of gestational diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable through healthful eating, regular physical activity and weight loss. It can be controlled with these same activities, but insulin or oral medication also may be necessary.
Metformin (metformin hydrochloride) is an oral biguanide antidiabetic medicine to treat type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood.
Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood, it decreases the amount of glucose you absorb from your food and the amount of glucose made by your liver. Metformin also increases your body's response to insulin, a natural substance that controls the amount of glucose in the blood.
The objective of the study, published in leading diabetes journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, was to compare all-cause mortality in diabetic patients treated with either sulphonylurea or metformin with matched individuals without diabetes inc Continue reading

'Get outside and embrace the cold:' Gestational diabetes linked to warmer temperatures

'Get outside and embrace the cold:' Gestational diabetes linked to warmer temperatures

Canadian researchers have uncovered a direct link between risk of gestational diabetes and what may at first seem like an unlikely source: outdoor air temperatures.
In Monday's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers report the relationship they found after checking records of nearly 400,000 pregnant women in the Greater Toronto Area who gave birth between 2002 and 2014.
"This is the first population study showing this relationship between air temperature and gestational diabetes risk," said lead author Dr. Gillian Booth, a scientist at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
Alicia Dubay's gestational diabetes illustrates the stakes for women at high risk of developing the condition. Left untreated, the temporary form of diabetes in pregnancy can result in stillbirth, increase the risk of having a difficult delivery and increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for mom and baby.
"I remember after I got my diagnosis, I called my husband crying really, really hard, because I was nervous and worried about it what it meant for me and for my baby," Dubay, 32, recalled.
Women typically take a glucose drink test 24 to 28 weeks into their pregnancy to see if their blood sugar levels are high.
Dubay's baby girl, Seraphina Rose, was born healthy and full term at 37 weeks in December 2015. A short stay in the neonatal ICU to check that the infant was fine at regulating her blood sugars was the only effect related to the Brampton, Ont., mom's gestational diabetes.
"There were a few things that were really challenging," Du Continue reading

Excessive copper in diabetes impedes ability to make new blood vessels

Excessive copper in diabetes impedes ability to make new blood vessels

It's a metal we worry thieves will steal from our air conditioners or power lines, but inside our bodies too much copper can result in a much larger loss.
Scientists have evidence that in diabetes, copper can pile up inside our cells, wreaking havoc on our ability to make new blood vessels, called angiogenesis. This impaired ability occurs even as the disease makes existing blood vessel walls less flexible, more leaky and more prone to accumulate plaque deposits and scars that impede good blood flow.
Impaired angiogenesis contributes to a host of problems from heart attacks to nerve death to loss of limbs to poor wound healing.
The problem is the disease alters the healthy copper balance that more typically enables new blood vessel formation, says Dr. Tohru Fukai, vascular biologist and cardiologist in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
Treatments that target ATP7A, a copper transporter that normally helps ensure healthy copper levels for a wide variety of functions in our body, may one day help patients with diabetes recover the innate ability to make healthy new blood vessels, Fukai says.
"Normally copper is essential for angiogenesis," says Dr. Masuko Ushio-Fukai, also an MCG vascular biologist. "But in inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, copper levels within cells become excessive. In this excess copper state, what happens?"
Diabetes affects nearly 10 percent of the adult American population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fukai and Ushio-Fukai are coinvestigators on a new $2.7 million g Continue reading

5 Important Tests for People With Diabetes

5 Important Tests for People With Diabetes

M onitoring blood sugar is just one essential test for people with diabetes. Read on for 5 others critical to your health...
If you have type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar isn’t the only thing that needs monitoring.
Your doctor will want to see a few more lab test results to ensure your liver, kidneys, heart and other organs are in good working order.
“If you have diabetes, you’re much more likely to have cardiovascular disease, which leads to heart attack and strokes, and to have issues with your liver and kidney functions,” says Sethu K. Reddy, MD, chief of the adult diabetes section at Harvard University Medical School’s Joslin Diabetes Center and author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Diabetes (Kaplan).
“It really pays to be aggressive in keeping these issues under control,” Dr. Reddy says.
Start with the ABCs of blood tests: A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol, he advises. You often can get these tests done at your local pharmacy, mobile health clinic or doctor’s office.
And follow your doctor’s advice on what these and other tests reveal about your overall health.
Here are the 5 top tests that help you stay healthier. We break down what the numbers mean and what you can do if you get a test result your doctor doesn’t like. Continue reading

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