A new test called autoflourescence can often predict which people with diabetes will develop complications such as heart and kidney disease.
Science may have a new tool in its arsenal for thwarting the often brutal complications of diabetes.
In the Netherlands researchers testing autofluorescence found they could predict fairly accurately which patients would develop diabetic nerve and kidney complications. Autoflourescence is a non-invasive method that reads skin tones. No, it is not measuring how young you appear!
Many people who have lived with diabetes for a long time have pigmented skin on their legs, caused by the protein hemosiderin. Hemosiderin reacts to light, so an autofluorescence device can measure hemosiderin levels in skin where is accumulates.
Hemosiderin accumulates in the body’s tissues, including the pancreas. Hemosiderin's presence in a person's skin also means it could be affecting the heart, pancreas, or liver.
The value of autofluorescence has already been proven with studies predicting heart complications in type 2 diabetics. In a recent study published in Diabetes Care, investigators tested their theory about detecting microvascular complications in people with diabetes.
The researchers followed patients for a little more than three years, and had a high rate of success predicting neuropathies and microalbuminuria (albumin in the urine: often a precursor to renal complications). However, they could not predict retinopathies (bleeding capillaries in the eye which can lead to blindness).
A new test may help diagnose diabetes 10 years sooner than current tests, and may help reduce cost as well. It may take several years until the new tool is available, and researchers also hope to find more uses for the instrument.
It is said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but on a more practical note they may soon tell us whether we have diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have come up with a device which can detect not only diabetes, but also tell people 10 years sooner than current diagnostic exams whether they have macular degeneration which is a disintegration of the back of the eye where vision is processed.
Archives of Ophthalmology for July 2008 describes the findings. The inventors used a camera and computer to look at the retina. Based on a protein which appears in the eye with diabetes and some eye diseases, it can determine the start or progression of disease, and then assign it a numeric value. If this proves successful it will be a viable alternative to blood tests. Aside from the anxiety associated with drawing blood, pain, and the need for fasting, economics are involved. Blood tests usually cost more than five times the $20 this test would cost.
Don’t give up your glucose meter just yet. Daily testing is still going to be required, and these inventors haven’t yet obtained a patent. Years of testing will be needed to determine how efficient and reliable the data, then the long Food and Drug Administration approval process will follow. Still, it sounds quite promising.
The researchers believe they will be capable of determining more applications for the device. For example, many people take vitamins to prevent macular degeneration. However, little is known of the effectiveness of those vitamins. This device may be able to address the question.
For the time being, the focus is on diabetes because with 24 million of us diagnosed and a significant number of people walking around without knowing they have diabetes, there’ a lot at stake.
In many parts of the world, governments finance health care rather than individuals, health plans, or insurers. Perhaps it is more accurate to state that the health plan or health insurer is the government. Parallel with the financial responsibility, many governments also feel an obligation to manage health the best that they can. We assume that most of our readership is from the United States, so we'll do a little comparing.
In the United States, people are often responsible for orchestrating their own health care. They get a lot of help from their doctors, and there are some influences from government, health plans, and other entities. However, when a person develops diabetes, the treatment the person receives depends on the doctor and the patient.
In the United Kingdom, the National Health System (NHS) operates many of the hospitals and finances the majority of the health care. It has assumed the responsibility of managing and improving diabetes care for the citizens of the British Commonwealth. A report by the British Department of Health identified two main "gaps" in patient care in Great Britain.
Well, if you're reading this site, you certainly know or suspect that diabetes is part of your life. So, you've been identified. However, a very small percentage of people with diabetes use insulin pumps. The insulin pump is not perfect, but the majority of insulin pump users improve their A1C scores, health, and happiness. Have you considered one? If you use insulin, it may be your best bet.
On the complimentary side of the report, observers generally applaud the NHS for its efforts to influence people to lose weight after their diabetes diagnosis.
Stress can complicate life with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
There are two kinds of stress. The first kind is the immediate stress one feels in a moment of thrill or panic. A roller-coaster ride or an argument can send adrenaline and other stress hormones pouring into the blood stream, along with an infusion of glucose from muscles and the liver. For most people this is an infrequent experience and it does not impact long-term blood sugar levels. However, if you work in an emergency room, or as a police officer, a few adrenaline rushes each day may be elevating your blood sugar.
The second kind of stress is the chronic stress that people live with every day. This prolonged state of mind can be harmful to people with diabetes.
Chronic stress comes from a challenging job, financial worries, difficult relationships, or living with a difficult condition like diabetes. Your body deals with this by releasing the hormone cortisol steadily into the blood supply. Cortisol synthesizes certain proteins, and the chemical reaction produces notable amounts of glucose.
As a reaction to cortisol, the body also frequently releases glucagon in response to chronic stress. Glucagon sends the chemical signal to the liver to release glucose. Between cortisol and glucagon's influence, people living with continuous stress also have constantly elevated blood sugar.
It is not usually easy or practical to immediately change the stress factors in your life. Leaving a stressful job, paying off debts, or beating back your diabetes may not be possible today. However, there are some behaviors you can consider now.
If you are considering changing your diet, adopting more exercise, starting insulin, or talking with a therapist, begin by making a phone call or visit to your doctor. He or she will help match the proper resources for these stress reducing activities to your needs. Addressing stress will help you regulate blood sugar.
Since the scientific identified a third cause of type 2 diabetes, we have to ask the question, how do we battle it? It may be too early for answers, but it is a great time to ask .
Diabetes is a problem that arises when one or both of the following conditions occur:
From research published in the British journal Nature, diabetes may be accelerated by brain and nerve cells that sense glucose and are activated by higher levels of blood sugar. As people become more obese, these cells appear to be less capable of sensing glucose. Scientists speculate that the neurons have a role in reducing insulin production or increasing insulin resistance.
The natural conclusion: Achieve a healthy weight to prevent or fight diabetes. Physicians are also speculating that weight loss surgery is effective because it restores the function of the glucose-sensing nerve cells.
When you eat at home control the ingredients of your meals. Even if you eat a meal that mostly comes from a box, can, or bag, you can read the nutritional information to guide your decision. When you are at a restaurant you have to guess more about nutrition.
The Rotary Club of Santa Monica, created a Web site called Helpguide.org to "empower you and your loved ones to understand, prevent, and resolve health challenges." Their Web entry, Healthy Fast Food: Healthy Restaurant Eating offers some sound advice for making better choices when dinning out.
It is disappointing to see tartar sauce and guacamole on their list of least healthy fast food choices. Fortunately, low fat deli sandwiches and tortilla wraps can be quite healthy and satisfying.
We were surprised that potatoes made the healthy list. Perhaps they were assuming that everyone eats the skin. If you eat a baked potato, be sure to compensate for the carbohydrates.
There are always healthy options with salads. Just watch out for the hidden calories in the dressings, croutons, and other tempting garnishes.
Remember that it is not just about the foods you do or don't eat. It's about the importance of portion control and the benefits of eating healthy foods. Responsible meals, at home or in restaurants, will help you avoid post-meal blood sugar peaks, and provide vital nutrients to your body.
Eating foods high on the glycemic index—foods your body quickly converts to sugar—may be associated with the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
This trend was true among Chinese and African-American women who participated in studies appearing in the November 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. However, eating more cereal fiber may be associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes in African-American women.
Even though it is a common belief that sugar causes diabetes, medical experts remain uncertain regarding exactly how diet, including carbohydrate intake, affects the development of type 2 diabetes. Studies have revealed that the body absorbs carbohydrates from different foods at different rates. This leads to varying effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods high on the glycemic index, such as rice and other simple carbohydrates, cause a rapid spike and then a drop in blood sugar. Conversely high-fiber foods tend to be lower on the glycemic index and have a more gradual effect. Some evidence has linked high–glycemic index foods with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Because high-glycemic index foods increase blood glucose levels significantly, they increase the body’s demand for insulin, the authors note. This can contribute to problems with the pancreas that may eventually lead to diabetes. In addition, high-glycemic index foods can directly decrease the body’s response to insulin by increasing the production of fatty acids after meals.
Once an individual has developed diabetes, he or she can better manage blood sugar by avoiding the foods that cause rapid blood sugar spikes.
“Our results indicate that black women can reduce their risk of diabetes by eating a diet that is high in cereal fiber,” the authors write. “Incorporating fiber sources into the diet is relatively easy: a simple change from white bread (two slices provides 1.2 grams of fiber) to whole wheat bread (two slices provides 3.8 grams of fiber) or substituting a cup of raisin bran (5 to 8 grams of fiber) or oatmeal (4 grams of fiber) for a cup of corn chex (0.5 grams of fiber) or rice chex (0.3 grams of fiber) will move a person from a low fiber intake category to a moderate intake category, with a corresponding 10 percent reduction in risk.”
When cholesterol readings come back less than desirable, there are a few natural ways to lower cholesterol levels. Several foods have been shown to have a healthy impact on cholesterol. Physical activity can also aid in cholesterol management. Finally, lifestyle adjustments, like quitting smoking and monitoring alcohol intake, can also impact cholesterol and overall heart health. These tactics can also help healthy diabetics stay healthy.
Weight lifting is an amazing exercise for people with diabetes. If you participate in weight lifting or other resistance exercises, you are gaining benefits beyond blood glucose reduction.
In her article, Why women should lift weights, Melina Sacks explains why resistance exercise is so good for all of us.
As you read through this list, many of the benefits will be obvious to you. However we want to emphasize her bullet point about osteoporosis. Diabetics have more osteoporosis, or bone loss. People who lift weights may fend off bone loss.
Pumping iron, using resistance bands, doing calisthenics, or working out with exercise machines at a gym have the potential to battle osteoporosis and other forms of arthritis that diabetes may be fueling. Your jawbone may thank you someday, as well as your knee, hip, ankle, spine and hand joints.