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Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of U.S. deaths in 2006, reports the Centers for Disease Control, and a recent analysis of health records of 379,000 Canadians with type 2 diabetes finds people who are also at moderate or high risk of cardiovascular disease have life expectancies 18 years less than non-diabetics.

Keeping your glucose level close to normal helps prevent or delay the onset of complications. So does managing your cholesterol. Your goal should be keeping your "bad" cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) level less than 100 mg per dL (decileter) of blood. Studies of type 2 diabetes show an overwhelming majority of cases can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle. The most well-known proof comes from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a random control research study of 3,234 overweight and pre-diabetic people. Researchers wanted to know which of two treatments was better at preventing the onset of diabetes: modest weight loss and increased exercise or an oral diabetes drug. Participants age 60 and over on average lowered their risk of developing diabetes by 71 per cent by eating less and exercising a total of 150 minutes a week. The oral drug group, in comparison, registered a reduced risk of only 31 percent.

Other diabetes factors ...

Diabetes is not always caused entirely by lifestyle, says endocrinologist Renee Schickler, M.D., an endocrinologist who sees diabetes patients at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "We suspect diabetes is caused by a combination of obesity and sedentary lifestyle in people who are genetically susceptible." Aerobic exercise is particularly effective in glucose control, she says, because it has an "insulin-like effect," enhancing the uptake of glucose. "The problem is that diabetic patients usually start out with poor exercise potential. So it would be dangerous to take obese, sedentary people and make them suddenly start doing aerobic exercises." Therefore, a diabetic patient needs to be thoroughly evaluated medically to rule out coronary artery disease and other health problems that preclude activity.

"We want to get high blood sugar, blood pressure and elevated levels of 'bad' cholesterol under control before we start patients on an exercise program," Schickler says. "The next step is to get the patient to move more, particularly to walk more. I recommend patients who have the disease under control aim for aerobic and weight training for 30 minutes three times a week. I stress positive changes can occur with aerobic exercise. Sometimes, though, blood sugar may drop after exercise and you may even develop low blood sugar called hypoglycemia. The doctor then needs to tell you how to adjust your blood glucose before and after exercising."

Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois - Health Care 03 09

Insulin Pens and Growing Diabetic Community Increase Market for Insulin Delivery Devices in Europe

While insulin syringes are the oldest delivery method available, they are currently experiencing a decline in use in Europe. Several factors have contributed to this trend, the most important being the high acceptance and popularity of insulin pens.

"The synergies created between pharmaceutical and medical device companies will be a key driver of the insulin pens market in Europe," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Kieu Vuong. "Another significant factor spurring growth is that insulin pens are more compatible with the fast paced modern environment."

The vast majority of insulin pens are given to patients free when they purchase insulin. This means that suppliers of insulin have a huge impact on the popularity and awareness of related devices. Insulin delivery device manufacturers need to work together with pharmaceutical companies to successfully distribute and promote their products.

In order to deliver insulin to the subcutaneous tissue, a needle injection is the most straightforward method. Needle phobia is however a significant deterrent for patients.

"Needle phobia has always represented the biggest restraint to the growth of the insulin syringes market," explains Vuong. "Needle phobia is not only an issue among new users and children but also among adult insulin users."

"Accordingly, one of the biggest and most important challenges for manufacturers of emerging insulin delivery devices is to build a close business relationship with pharmaceutical companies," advises Vuong. "Insulin pens are a good example of this kind of cooperation."

Source: Frost & Sullivan   03 09

Studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes through changes to their lifestyle that include weight loss and regular physical activity. Experts recommend that people with pre-diabetes reduce their weight by 5-10 percent and participate in some type of moderate physical activity for 30 minutes daily at least 5 times per week. For some people with pre-diabetes, intervening early can actually turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range. If early action is taken to manage blood glucose, the onset of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented.

Source: The American Diabetes Association

Diabetes and elevated levels of cholesterol linked to faster cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients

A history of diabetes and elevated levels of cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, are associated with faster cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a study from Columbia University Medical Center researchers. These results add further evidence of the role of vascular risk factors in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Columbia University Medical Center

Broccoli could reverse the heart damaging effects of diabetes 

Researchers have discovered eating broccoli could undo the damage caused by diabetes to heart blood vessels. 

Professor Paul Thornalley and his team from the University of Warwick have found a broccoli compound called Sulforaphane. This compound can encourage the body to produce more enzymes to protect the vessels, as well as reduce high levels of molecules which cause significant cell damage.

Past studies have shown that a diet rich in vegetables – particularly brassica vegetables such as broccoli – is linked to decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.

University of Warwick

Daily walk can help control diabetes 

Just an extra 45 minute walk a day can help people control Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study at Newcastle University.

Dr Michael Trenell and Prof Roy Taylor, who led the research, showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who walk regularly can keep some of the effects of the disease at bay. 

“What is exciting about this study is that it provides an immediate way to help control diabetes without any additional drugs. By building physical activity into everyday life the difficulty of making time to go out just for exercise is avoided. It is an important and simple health message – walking 45 minutes extra a day helps diabetes.” 

Patients should talk to their doctor before undertaking any significant change in lifestyle especially to avoid hypoglycemia or other complications.

Increased Daily Walking Improves Lipid Oxidation Without Changes in Mitochondrial Function in Type 2 Diabetes. Michael I Trenell PhD, Keren G. Hollingsworth PhD, Ee Lin Lim MRCP, Roy Taylor MD. Published in Diabetes Care on the 28th July 2008.

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Diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, FAQ, FAQs ...