Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pre-Diabetes Can Be Turned Around by Exercise

Another good article at - Charles

People diagnosed with pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing just 5 to 7% of their body weight and exercising regularly, according to a clinical study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Go to to read entire article - and find more great links
Diet and Exercise Can Turn Pre-Diabetes Around

Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget

Anyone who's been to a grocery store lately knows about soaring prices.

Can we eat healthy when good food costs so much?

Eating 3 to 5 cups a day has long been recommended to reduce the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and development of type 2 diabetes. The health benefits are well documented, and so you may not need to be sold on why you should eat more produce.

Read full article Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget - Cutting the Cost of Heart-Healthy Produce - By Debra Manzella, R.N.,

Diabetes On Rise Says CDC

Diabetes Cases Increase 15% in 2 Years . . .

Federal health officials sounded an alarm Tuesday about the staggering rise of diabetes in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control said a record 24-million Americans – eight percent of the population - now have diabetes.

That's an increase of three million over the course of three years; 25% of people over the age of 60 are affected.

The study also shows that 57 million more people are pre-diabetic, which means they are at risk of the disease.

“We've been busy right along,” says Dr. Steven Zygmot with Joslin Diabetes Center. The center sees only about 10 percent to 15 percent of Central New York diabetics.

Read full story at

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wide Disparities in Health Care by Race and Region

Race and place of residence can have a staggering impact on the course and quality of the medical treatment a patient receives.

According to new research showing that blacks with diabetes or vascular disease are nearly five times more likely than whites to have a leg amputated, and that women in Mississippi are far less likely to have mammograms than those in Maine.

The study, by researchers at Dartmouth, examined Medicare claims for evidence of racial and geographic disparities, and found that on a variety of quality indices, blacks typically were less likely to receive recommended care than whites within a given region.

But the most striking disparities were found from place to place.

For instance, the widest racial gaps in mammogram rates within a state were with a difference of 12% points between the white rate and the black rate. The statistics were for women ages 65 to 69 who received screening in 2004 or 2005 in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and California.

In all but two states, black diabetics were less likely than whites to receive annual hemoglobin testing. But blacks - 66% were far less likely to be screened than those in Massachusetts and Colorado.

Disparities in the rate of leg amputations were particularly stark. The rate for blacks was about 6 per 1,000. The rates for whites in three Southern states were much lower, about 1.3 per 1,000.

Such variations may be partly explained by regional differences in education and poverty levels, but researchers increasingly believe that variations in medical practice and spending also are factors.

In health care, it’s not only who you are that matters - it’s also where you live.

The study was commissioned by the nation’s largest health-related philanthropy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which recently announced a three-year, $300 million initiative intended to narrow health care disparities across lines of race and geography. Officials said it would be the largest effort to improve health care quality ever undertaken by a charity in the United States

Dr. John R. Lumpkin, senior vice president of the foundation, said that more than a third of the $300 million would be spent to hire national experts to help regional coalitions tailor their quality improvement plans. The remainder of the money will be devoted to research, evaluation and the promotion of quality standards.

The areas selected for the grants are Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Humboldt County, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; Maine; Memphis; Minnesota; Seattle; south central Pennsylvania; western Michigan; western New York; Willamette Valley in Oregon; and Wisconsin.

The foundation’s endowment, now about $10 billion, was financed originally from the wealth of its namesake, who died in 1968 after building Johnson & Johnson into one of the world’s largest sellers of health and medical products.

The group has been a major force in curbing tobacco use, and has more recently turned its attention to obesity, announcing a five-year, $500 million effort on that front last year.

Source: Latinos for National Health Insurance

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Diabetes Management Challenges For Seniors

Not only is the risk for Type 2 diabetes more common as people get older, but physical, financial and medical issues are often compounded as people age.

Not enough insurance coverage, co-existing medical problems, difficulties with transportation, lack of social support, being unable to be physically active, poor nutrition; all these can come into play when elderly patients are diagnosed with diabetes.

1. Diagnosis Can Be More Difficult

Diagnosing diabetes becomes more difficult when there are already underlying symptoms of other common conditions that frequently occur with aging. Older people may not pay attention to symptoms of chronic thirst and frequent urination, instead just chalking them up to old age.

Problems such as blurred vision may be masked if cataracts or other age-related eye diseases are also concurrent. Fatigue and weakness in the extremities may also be overlooked as just a natural process of aging. Not only is the risk for Type 2 diabetes more common as people get older, but physical, financial and medical issues are often compounded as people age.

2. Complications Are More Likely

If diabetes is not diagnosed for a long period of time, the incidence of complications is higher due to the longterm damage of high blood sugar. If other medical problems are also occuring at the same time, these complications may not even be noticed until they become serious and life threatening.

* blindness

* kidney failure with resultant dialysis

* peripheral vascular disease and impaired circulation with threat of amputation

* cardiovascular disease

3. Affordable Health Care

Seniors might not be able to afford the extra expense of doctor visits, nutritionists, extra medications and supplies needed to keep diabetes under control. Very often private insurance is too expensive. There are options available to seniors for medical coverage, including Medicare Plan D which can help pay for prescriptions if you qualify for Medicare, state programs such as EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage) and State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs(SHIP).

4. Transportation To and From Appointments

No longer being able to drive can be a big concern. It's hard to get to doctor's appointments, pharmacies, nutritionists and other health related destinations when there's no available transportation. Sometimes physical limitations prevent seniors from taking advantage of public transportation. Community-sponsored senior transportation may be offered at small to no charge. Local government offices or senior community centers can direct you to these services.

5. Adequate Nutrition

Sometimes a fixed income means trying to cut costs and live as economically as possible. Eating healthy can be expensive and difficult to accomplish. Nutritionally balanced meals are sometimes offered in area senior centers or through senior services agencies in the community. The Meals on Wheels program will deliver a healthy meal right to the door. Ask your doctor or nutritionist about low-cost food programs that are available in the area.

6. Getting Enough Exercise

Physical activity is beneficial for all seniors but especially for seniors with diabetes. Exercise can help keep blood sugar in control. Limited mobility can interfere with getting enough exercise. Local gyms and community centers can offer exercise programs specifically designed for older adults, such as the Silver Sneakers program. Local hospitals may also be able to recommend senior fitness programs in your area. Always check with your physician before starting any exercise program.