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KYW's Medical Editor Discusses Diabetes

by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough


The numbers are startling. It’s about 24 million. That’s the number of Americans who have diabetes today; however, 6 million of them don't know they have diabetes.


The problem with diabetes is it can cause long term problems, such as kidney failure, heart disease, neurologic issues, and can even cause blindness. Now there are several things you can do to reduce your chances of developing diabetes, but several things you can do even if you have diabetes that can really help you.


First of all, you should set goals for yourself. Try to figure out what you can do realistically and go after it. One of the things I often suggest is to get 30 minutes of exercise each day. But remember, you don’t have to do it all at once, don't buy into the 'no pain, no gain' theory. Start slow and build.


You should make better food choices, meaning you should drink water rather than soda, chose vegetables as a snack instead of cakes and pies. Common sense is the answ

2 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes



Can controlling your blood sugar and preventing diabetes complications be as simple as eating the right foods? Yes. Certain foods are packed with nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels, protect your heart, and even save your vision from the damaging effects of diabetes. These 12 foods can give you an extra edge against diabetes and its complications.


Apples 1. Apples

In a Finnish study, men who ate the most apples and other foods high in quercetin had 20 percent less diabetes and heart disease deaths. Other good sources of quercetin are onions, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, and berries.


Cinnamon 2. Cinnamon

A study at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, found that if you use ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily, it can make cells more sensitive to insulin. Therefore, the study says, the cells convert blood sugar to energy.


After 40 days of taking various amount of cinnamon extract, diabetics experienced not only lower blood sugar spikes after eating, but major improvements in signs of heart health. And you can sprinkle cinnamon on just about anything.


Citrus Fruit 3. Citrus Fruit

Studies show that people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of vitamin C in their bodies, so antioxidant-packed citrus fruit is a great snack choice. It may seem quicker to get your C from a pill, but since fruit is low in fat, high in fiber, and delivers lots of other healthy nutrients, it's a better choice.


Salmon 4. Cold-Water Fish

Heart disease strikes people with diabetes twice as often as it does people without the illness, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids—the "good fat" in cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and Atlantic mackerel—can help lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.


Fiber-Rich Foods 5. Fiber-Rich Foods

A study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that people who increased their fiber intake from 24 to 50 g daily had dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels. In fact, the high-fiber diet was as effective as some diabetes medications.


Rather than try to figure out exactly how much fiber is in different foods, focus on trying to get a total of 13 daily servings of a mixture of fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice, and whole grain pastas, cereals, and breads.


Beans 6. Legumes

Legumes of all sorts—chickpeas, cannelloni beans, kidney beans, and lentils—are a great addition to soups, salads, and a variety of ethnic dishes. And this low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber, high-protein food helps to reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease. The fiber slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which prevents the blood sugar spikes that worsen diabetes blood sugar control and make you feel hungry.


Green Tea 7. Green Tea

Studies show that chronic inflammation—caused by high-fat foods, lack of exercise, and eating too few fruits, vegetables, and good fats—can increase risk of hearts attacks and thwart the body's ability to absorb blood sugar. A simple solution: Drink green tea and orange or cranberry juice. They're all packed with flavonoids—powerful inflammation-fighters. Swap one in for one cup of coffee a day.


Nuts 8. Nuts

Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have lower rates of heart disease than people who don't eat them. (People with diabetes are at increased risk of heart disease.) Even among the healthiest eaters, the ones who also eat nuts boast the best health record. Exactly why isn't known yet, but one reason could be compounds called tocotrienols.


The key to eating nuts is not to eat too many; they're so high in calories that you could easily see the aftermath pouring over your pants. Either measure 2 tablespoons of nuts, count how many it is, and limit yourself to that number, or keep a jar of chopped nuts on hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons a day on cereal, yogurt, veggies, salads, or wherever the flavor appeals to you.


Kale 9. Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens

All of these green leafy vegetables are good sources of lutein, a carotenoid that's good for the eyes. That's especially important because people with diabetes may develop debilitating eye problems as complications of the disease. These foods are also great sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.



Chocolate 10. Chocolate

Researchers at Tufts University discovered that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, a crucial improvement in preventing or treating type 2 diabetes. What's more, dark—but not white—chocolate also produced a significant drop in blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improved blood vessel function.


Just don't overdo it. Dark chocolate is great for the occasional indulgence, but it still packs a lot of fat and calories.


Steak 11. Steak

There's something in steak besides the protein, iron, and B vitamins that's good for us. It's a compound that's part of beef's fat profile called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Doctors Michael Murray and Michael Lyon point out in their book Beat Diabetes Naturally that experiments have shown that CLA works to correct impaired blood sugar metabolism and also appears to have significant anti-cancer properties.


In the most recent research, scientists in Norway supplemented the diets of 180 people with a few grams of CLA and reported that they lost 9 percent of their body weight in one year. For a 200-pounder, that's an 18-pound weight loss!


To get CLA from steak, choose meat from range-fed beef. Eating natural pasturage give these animals far more healthful CLA than the usual grain-rich diet. And keep portions to 3 or 4 ounces.


Vinegar 12. Vinegar

Two tablespoons of vinegar taken before a meal can help your blood sugar go down. A study at Arizona State University East tested three different groups of people to see what the results would be in healthy people, those with prediabetes (they had signs diabetes was developing), and confirmed diabetics. Before each of two meals a day, the subjects were given 2 tablespoons of ordinary vinegar.


The results: An hour after the vinegar treatment, the diabetics had blood sugar levels that were 25 percent lower than without vinegar. The prediabetics had an even better result: Their levels were lower by about half

Vigorous exercise makes big difference in heart health of seniors: study Diabetes

Provided by: Canadian Press

Written by: Shannon Montgomery, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Oct. 25, 2009


CALGARY - New research suggests it's never too late for seniors saddled with Type 2 diabetes and other problems to start turning their health around through vigorous exercise often recommended only for younger people.


While exercise is touted as a key component of health in people under the age of 65, the message often trails for people who are later in life, says Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatrician at the University of British Columbia.


Madden decided to see whether aerobic exercise could have the same effect in what he terms "the worst-case scenario" of patients - those with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


"There's a lot of talk about prevention, but everyone just kind of gives up when people are over 65 and have all these risk factors. So we decided - can you actually do something at this point?"


He assigned adults between the ages of 65 and 83 to one of two groups. One group continued to do no exercise at all while those in the other one engaged in vigorous exercise on treadmills and stationary bicycles for one hour, three times a week.


The stiffness in their arteries - shown to be a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes - was measured by monitors on pulse points that checked how fast a pulse wave moved through their bodies.


After three months, the exercise group had improved the stiffness of their arteries by about 20 per cent, a large impact in such a short period of time, says Madden.


The shift was especially surprising because many believed it was too late for sedentary seniors to be able to change at all.


"It was just assumed it was kind of irreversible at that point, the damage has been done."


Seniors are often wary about starting aerobic exercise, a fear that is shared by many others working in health care, he says.


"It's a constant struggle to convince people over 65 that it's safe to do an exercise program and a struggle with other health-care providers to convince them that it's not too late and that it's never too late."


It was initially difficult to recruit patients into the study, but once they started they were quickly hooked, Madden says.


While the study did not measure the effect of the exercise beyond the arteries, he's heard anecdotally that some of the seniors involved have cut back on their medication and have felt better overall.


"We had the hardest time getting people out of the study at the end," he laughs. "They didn't want to stop the intervention, but after a while I said, 'I'm not running a gym."'


Lindsay Walker, strength and conditioning director at the Eau Claire YMCA in Calgary, says the gym has several seniors-specific classes.


The important thing is to build up slowly, she says. For example, while she might build up balance for younger clients by getting them to stand on balance balls, she would likely start a senior just balancing on one leg on the floor.


"It's totally never too late to start. Everyone can at least walk, you know? And from there you can build up."


Madden says seniors wanting to start an exercise program should check with their family doctor. He also recommends a session or two with a personal trainer experienced in working with seniors, who can suggest a proper program.


"The amount of money we spend on drugs and cholesterol-lowering agents and all these sorts of things, in the context of that, one single session with a trainer isn't a big-ticket item," he says. "It's $50, compared to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year on medication."


Madden will present his research Sunday at the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, which is being held in Edmonton. It was published recently in the journal Diabetes Care.

International Diabetes Foundation outlines new diabetes guidelines

Submitted by WWAY on 22 October 2009 - 4:01pm.READ MORE:


The International Diabetes Federation reports that over 285 million people worldwide now live with diabetes and they predict that within 20 years that number will jump to 435 million.


In order to equip health care professionals with the latest guidance in diabetes care, the federation recently released new clinical guidelines that cover topics such as gestational diabetes and proper use of at-home blood glucose testing.


Though monitoring blood glucose levels at home was previously suggested only for those diabetics taking insulin injections, the guidelines recommend that those who manage their diabetes through oral medication should also keep track of their blood glucose at home.


The report also offers the federation's first-ever guidelines on diabetes and pregnancy, and advises that diabetic women wishing to conceive should get pre-pregnancy advice from doctors, consider stopping oral blood sugar medications and certain blood pressure medications, and begin folic acid therapy. Concerning gestational diabetes, which has become increasingly common in the past years, the report says that early action is key and any pregnant woman who tests abnormal for blood sugar levels should be considered for diabetes treatment.


 Eating white and oily fish regularly may provide protection against type 2 diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Eating white and oily fish regularly may provide protection against type 2 diabetes, but eating shellfish may have the opposite effect, a study from the UK hints.


The study team noted about 25 percent less risk type 2 diabetes among men and women who reported eating one or more, as opposed to fewer, servings of white or oily fish each week.


Unexpectedly, however, they found that men and women who ate similar amounts of shellfish -- primarily prawns, crab, and mussels -- had about 36 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


But "it may not be the 'shellfish' per se which increased the risk for diabetes," Dr. Nita Forouhi, of Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, noted in an email to Reuters Health.


Rather, the cooking and preparation methods used in the UK, for example, oils used when frying or butter- and mayonnaise-based sauces served with shellfish, may increase cholesterol intake which, in turn, may raise diabetes risk.


Forouhi and colleagues assessed the weekly intake of shellfish plus white fish such as cod, haddock, sole, and halibut, or oily fish such as mackerel, kippers, tuna, and salmon, reported by 9,801 men and 12,183 women. The study participants were 40 to 79 years old at the time and had no history of diabetes.


Over an average of 10 years, 725 of these men and women developed type 2 diabetes.


Both the lower risk linked with white and oily fish and the greater risk tied to shellfish intake remained when the investigators allowed for a range of diabetes risk factors including physical activity, obesity, alcohol use, and fruit and vegetable intake.


The investigators emphasize that the link between shellfish intake and diabetes risk requires further investigations in other populations. This observed link, Forouhi commented, "does not imply that one is the cause of the other."


The findings on white and oily fish "reinforce the public health message to consume fish regularly," the investigators conclude, while the shellfish findings should be studied further.


SOURCE: Diabetes Care, October 2009

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