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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Diabetes Cases Growing Along the Mexico Border

Diabetes is the number 1 cause of death in Mexico now and along the US side of the border. It is also the third leading cause of death. This is the result of a study undertaken by the Pan American Health Organization. More and more type 2 diabetes cases are found along the border.

About 1.1 million have diabetes and 836,000 are pre diabetic. Also about 22% do not know they have the disease. This is serious since almost a quarter cannot even take the steps to prevent the disease and its complications.

This is according to Dr. Maria Teresa Cerqueira who is the PAHO chief in the US-Mexican border. Representatives of PAHO presented the findings of the study at El Paso, Texas. People are now concerned about the burden type 2 diabetes will cause.

The data for the study were collected from 2000 and 2002 from 28 Mexican towns and 16 US counties. The study also found that only 4 out of every 10 checked their blood sugar levels in one year. This poor diabetes control will lead to complications, physical disability, low quality of life and early mortality.

Coordinator of the Project, Dr. Rosalba Ruiz, said that health care cost in 2002 is $13,243 per capita each year. Since the diabetes is 11% of the US health care expenses, it is clear the cost will be quite overwhelming in due time. There is a need for more education on this issue so it is good to get free subscriptions to newsletters.
The findings also indicate 90% of those with diabetes are obese or overweight. We know that being overweight and obesity are risk factors of type 2 diabetes. It is also a sad thing that very few diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels.

Poor management can lead to more complications. The director of the Elderly Health Program of the Secretariat of Health in Mexico, Dr. Agustin Lara said that the poor management also reduced the quality of life and led to more disability and earlier death. Thank goodness, more and more are learning about what to do to manage diabetes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good News from Center for Disease Control

The report I gathered last year from two CDC studies indicated that the diabetics are monitoring their blood glucose better so there are now fewer reports of the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. In fact, the occurrence of cardiovascular disease is down by 11 % from 1997- 2005.

The authors noted that the decrease may be due to lower risk factors of high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking and better use of preventive treatment like taking a daily low dose of aspirin. Whatever is the reason, it is still a high note.

Among the blacks, the decrease is more than 25% between 1997 and 2005. It is kind of a surprise because this group is likely to have higher diabetes rates than the whites and Hispanics which are the other two ethnic groups included in this study.

Cardiovascular disease is the chief cause of death among the Americans and in 65% of deaths among the diabetics. That is why this is a very encouraging report as this will help beat diabetes. And with the stem cells
research on President Obama's agenda, we can't help but be optimistic.

The second report also makes me happy for there is a significant increase among the diabetics who monitor their blood sugar level at least once a day. The rate increased by more than 22% between 1997 and 2006. This exceeded the goal of the national health of 61% by 2010.

This is great news for this is the key to managing the disease to prevent complications like amputation, heart disease and retinopathy that could lead to blindness. As long as we continue maintaining the blood glucose level to as close to normal as possible, then we will be in for more good news.

I am glad that people are taking advantage of the help they are getting but continued education and self-monitoring are keys to preventing and managing diabetes. So let us continue our effort and spread the word around. Help others take the steps to manage the diabetes so they can prevent the complications.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awareness to Growing Diabetes Crisis

The American Diabetes Association says one in four Americans has diabetes or is likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This is the fastest growing health crisis for nearly 75 million Americans have the condition or are likely to develop diabetes.

When ADA’s American Diabetes Month was celebrated last November, they focused on the fact that the trend for the occurrence of diabetes was on the rise. How did they do this? They highlighted the “Many Faces of Diabetes” each week.

Week 1 was devoted to the caretakers as these are faced with challenges. The employees was the focus of Week 2 where healthy lifestyles were promoted in the workplace. This will help prevent type 2 diabetes and the complications that may come along and at the same time save money for the employers.

Week 3 focused on diabetes around the world. There are over 246 million people with diabetes around the world and this figure is likely to go up to 380 million in 2020 so ADA proudly supports World Diabetes Day on November 14 as well as the United Nations Resolution urging supporters to fight diabetes.

They did this by letting people know the diabetes facts. They are doing this on a regular basis. In fact, as I write this, I am getting emails from them to write to representatives and others in order to promote any cause for diabetes. And I comply because I know how important it is.

The populations that are at risk was the focus of Week 4 for if the trend continues one of two minorities born in 2000 will get diabetes during their lifetime. Week 5 focused on the youth and type 1 diabetes. These are the ones who need the most pressing care. ADA will supply the resources to these and their families.

I am glad they are doing this because diabetes is now the fifth cause of death through disease. At present, there is no cure although there are all kinds of research studies going on. At least we can still prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications through lifestyle changes. And of course there is insulin. So let’s roll up our sleeves, lose weight by eating right and moving more.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

National Institute of Health Awards Grant to Improve Research Competitiveness

The National Institute of Health awarded $33 million grant to three states. The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Research Resources announced the almost $33 million dollars for three new Institutional Development Awards (IDeA). The multidisciplinary centers will receive support to reinforce institutional biomedical research and improve research infrastructure.

This will also improve the competitiveness of researchers in states that have not received major NIH research funding. The new centers are being established at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Rhode Island Hospital and University of Kansas Medical Center.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will study diabetes among the Native American populations. As we know over the past fifty years studies have revealed that Native Americans are at high risk to develop diabetes. There are differences among the different regions part of which is due to diabetes risk factors like physical activity, diet and obesity.

Rhode Island Hospital will research cartilage, repair mechanisms and health of the joints while the University of Kansas Medical Center will study molecular regulation. Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. who is the director of NIH said that to improve the country’s health, it is good to bridge the gap of research funding.

This way too the partnership with the community is strengthened. Multidisciplinary approach is the way to go to lessen health inequality and help prevent disease. This is good as usually only the big centers get the grant. I can't wait to read the report on the results of this grant.

A main investigator with well-known qualifications pertinent to the research topic is assigned to each award. In addition there will be three to five individual projects around the topic. This will be supervised by a junior researcher. This mentoring plan will get the researchers prepared to receive funding.

Barbara M. Alving, M.D., who is the director of the NCRR said there is a need to put down the foundation to partner with the community and utilize the undergraduate level to effect change. This way, homegrown researchers will be produced who will be the future leaders in securing federal funding. That is why this was initiated by The National Institute of Health.