Saturday, March 29, 2008

Silent Disease Diabets Often Goes Undiagnosed For 5-10 Years

Diabetes Symptoms and Care

It is estimated that nearly one third of Type 2 diabetes cases are unaware that they have the disease, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH.) In 2006, more than 140,000 undiagnosed Marylanders joined the ranks of 334,000 others who knew they had the disease.

Many people will not notice anything wrong, but symptoms that may signal diabetes include unusual hunger, excessive thirst, constant urination and unintended weight loss.

Risk factors can include being overweight or obese, not being physically active, high blood pressure and a family history of the disease.

Women who are pregnant or those who have a baby that weighs more than nine pounds at birth are also at risk. The disease is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Often described as a silent disease, diabetes means your blood sugar is too high. When this happens, it can harm your eyes, nerves, kidneys and heart. It can lead to amputations. And, your risk of acquiring the disease goes up as you age, gain weight or fail to stay active.

Yet there are steps you can take to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Measures include losing weight if you are overweight, staying active most days of the week and eating low fat meals that include vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods.

It is important that a person with diabetes manage his or her own care every day with a team of professionals including a primary provider, dietitian, diabetes educator and in some cases, the pharmacist.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Risk Factors and Race in Alzheimer’s

There are several risk factors that we look for when we weigh an individual’s chances for getting Alzheimer’s.

There is that pesky gene (APOe-E4) that shows up in most Alzheimer’s, but not all, but we have come to believe that, while genes play a major role, there are several genes at play, not one, and other factors are equally important.

Head injury is one of those risk factors. You won’t like it but it is true: people who play a lot of soccer have a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s due to heading the ball and other collisions on the field. Boxers develop a form of dementia that is named for their sport, dementia pugilistica. Any head injury increases the likelihood of future Alzheimer’s Disease.

One whole segment of our population is more likely to get Alzheimer’s: African-Americans. This isn’t as big a puzzle as you might think. There isn’t — as far as we know now — a gene carried in African-Americans that makes them more likely candidates for Alzheimer’s; at least, not directly. Then why are they much more likely to get the disease? Culture and politics rear their ugly heads at this point.

African-Americans have made great strides forward in recent decades; no question. However, as a group, they are still less likely to have access to good health care (especially preventative care) and as a whole they tend to have less income. Because their funds are limited, they are likely to eat more fat and starch in their diet and that leads to obesity.

Obesity is a huge risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease. I have heard snide remarks made about African-Americans by white people who judged them by their size and then — always out of earshot of the individual, of course — wondering aloud how they could afford to eat that much food if they were poor. I’ve heard comments made about what they purchased with food stamps, etc. that didn’t just border on unChristian and slanderous, they leapt the border into sinfulness.

Say it with me: fat is cheap. Go look at the dollar menu at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Burger King. Rent "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock. When funds are limited and preventative health care information is limited, people go to fat and starch. Compare the price of five pounds of potatoes versus five pounds of steak. Now, compare five pounds of hamburger with five pounds of steak. Now, compare five pounds of chitterlings with five pounds of hamburger. Have we made our point? There are cultural issues at stake here, too. Some African-American micro-cultures will not accept what they see as a white, yuppie diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Some of them consider obesity to be a sign of beauty and strength ("Baby Got Back" anyone?).

But even if they wanted to eat better, that takes money and it takes time. There are many, many areas in our country where a black woman would have to catch two buses and travel for an hour to get to a store that sold fresh fruit and vegetables but there are three McDonald’s within six blocks of her apartment. Stores want to locate where people have extra money; they don’t want to build in a poor section of town, especially if that area is high crime.

Primarily because of weight, there is far more diabetes among African-Americans than there is in the white population (by ratio, not raw numbers). There may be a genetic predisposition towards both obesity and diabetes but that link is unproven at present.

, along with obesity, are two of the largest risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease. Put those two together and you almost always get the third highest risk factor: lack of exercise. With weight comes pain on the joints and pressure on the heart and lungs making most exercise difficult and painful. So…rheumatoid arthritis shows up and we find the biggest bogey-man of all in Alzheimer’s — inflammation.

By the year 2030, we expect 6.9 million African-Americans to enter the highest risk years for Alzheimer’s (65-85). With their high rates of diabetes, obesity, poor diets, and lack of exercise, we expect a higher percentage of them to need long term care than whites or Asians There are no figures on Hispanic populations.

Churches should play a role in discussing how to be good stewards of our money, bodies, diet, and time. I think churches from outside African-American communities should make solid, meaningful relationships with leaders inside those communities and offer help, guidance, funds, education… all in Jesus’ name. It would prevent countless thousands of tragedies if we could help our brothers and sisters avoid Alzheimer’s.

Randy Jackson Promotes Diabetes Awareness

Randy Jackson, music industry veteran and TV personality, is holding a casting call for people living with type 2 diabetes.

Jackson has partnered with the American Heart Association to speak on behalf of The Heart of DiabetesTM, a national campaign to help those living with type 2 diabetes manage the disease and learn about its connection to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes; and according to estimates, two-thirds of them will die of CVD, such as heart attack or stroke.

“When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I thought, ‘Wow, I have a serious disease,’” Jackson said. “I’ve learned that people can live well, with proper management of this disease, and that hearing stories about how others manage type 2 diabetes helps me.

I am encouraging people to share their stories as part of The Heart of Diabetes campaign. I hope this campaign will help others who live with type 2 diabetes lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.”

Jackson shares more of his story about living with type 2 diabetes and provides information about how to successfully manage it.

The campaign calls upon those who either have, or know someone who has, type 2 diabetes to share their tips and inspirational stories on the campaign’s Web site, Three people with type 2 diabetes, whose stories are inspiring to others, will be selected and invited to appear in a public service announcement with Jackson.

Jackson stated that he has also worked closely with my doctor to stick to a treatment plan, including learning about healthy food choices and exercise routines - "I’ve learned things that have helped me manage the disease and worked with the American Heart Association to develop tips to help others lead a healthier life.”

Tips available on include:

* Keep active and maintain a healthy body weight. Even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week can help prevent diabetes, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, maintain a healthy body weight and minimize risk of cardiovascular disease.

* Normalize your numbers. Schedule regular visits with your doctor to help monitor your blood sugar and manage your diabetes. It has been shown that you can reduce cardiovascular disease by improving your blood sugar control and controlling other risk factors. Learn to keep track of your critical health numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight and blood sugar.

* Opt for a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and reduce intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. Also, if you smoke, opt to quit – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

* Work with your doctor. People living with type 2 diabetes often need multiple approaches to treatment to control the disease and its associated risks. If you live with type 2 diabetes, it is important to talk with your doctor, describe your symptoms and be persistent until you find treatment options and lifestyle changes that work for you.

“If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing the disease, work with your doctor to create a game plan for monitoring your critical health numbers including blood sugar, cholesterol, body weight and blood pressure.

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim over 870,000 lives a year.

Source: My fox Orlando


Monday, March 3, 2008

Cutting Caffeine May Help Control Diabetes

Daily consumption of caffeine in coffee, tea or soft drinks increases blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes and may undermine efforts to control their disease.

Researchers used new technology that measured participants' glucose (sugar) levels on a constant basis throughout the day.

Dr. James Lane, a psychologist at Duke and the lead author of the study, says it represents the first time researchers have been able to track the impact of caffeine consumption as patients go about their normal, everyday lives.

Eliminating caffeine from the diet might be a good way to manage blood sugar levels.

New Clue on Brain Problems and Diabetes

Stress Hormone May Affect Memory in People With Diabetes

Too much of a stress-related hormone may be at the root of memory and other common brain-related diabetes complications.

A new study shows the release of the stress hormone corticosterone is tied to the development of memory or learning problems in rats with diabetes. But normalizing the levels of this hormone may restore normal brain function.

Researchers say many organs are adversely affected by diabetes, including the brain, which undergoes changes that may increase the risk of cognitive decline, such as loss of memory and difficulty concentrating.

Until now the reasons behind this decline have been unclear, but these results suggest that diabetes may trigger the release of excessive levels of corticosterone.

Targeting Diabetes Complications

In the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers evaluated the effects of altering the levels of corticosterone on cognitive function in rats with diabetes.

They found increases in the stress hormone caused a drop in brain cell regeneration and a decline in memory formation in the rats. But normalizing the levels of the stress hormone reversed many of these negative effects and restored relatively normal brain function, regardless of changes in insulin production.

Although these results are only preliminary, researchers say they could lead to new treatments to help ease this common diabetes complication.


Saturday, March 1, 2008



Soul singer ANGIE STONE is urging African-Americans to get tested for diabetes - because it is one of the most serious health challenges facing the black community.

The 47-year-old, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes eight years ago, has teamed up with Eli Lilly + Co. on the F.A.C.E. (Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered) Diabetes Campaign to advocate screenings for the disease, which affects more than 3 million African-Americans in the U.S.

She insists it is vital people get the symptoms diagnosed early before it is too late. She says, "Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes after I started experiencing a few common symptoms associated with high blood sugar - including frequent urination and excessive thirst. I couldn't stop going to the bathroom, and no matter how much water I drank, I couldn't get enough.

Despite having a family history of the disease, my diagnosis came as a shock because I didn't think I was a candidate for diabetes.
Even after I was diagnosed and my doctor prescribed medication, I didn't truly take the disease as seriously as I should have. I was in denial about my condition and the importance of taking my medication, changing my diet and getting more exercise." - Ilkley,England,UK