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Monday, August 30, 2010

Diabetes Prevention - Health Ministry to Launch War on Diabetes

Diabetes Prevention - a Ten-Year Plan has been instituted by the Abu Dhabi's Ministry of Health to battle the diabetes epidemic. They started their program in 2009 and I will follow their progress from year to year and report it to you from time to time. You see, my plan is to find out if this ten-year plan will be a success and whether we can have this implemented all over the world.

The ten-year plan includes improvement in all areas including facilities, services, education and research. I believe that improvement in all those aspects will certainly contribute to the control and prevention of diabetes. Services and facilities are my two favorite areas to improve.

What spurred the action of the Ministry of Health is the fact that approximately 24% of Emiratis have been diagnosed with diabetes. Compare that figure with the one released by the World Health Organization and you know that the 24% figure is dismal indeed. The global occurrence of diabetes according to WHO is 2.8%.

The plan of the Ministry of Health involves both secondary and primary ways of preventing diabetes. It includes improving the healthcare services for the diabetics and assessment of the research that pertains to diabetes. They will also have patients as well as their families involved in the quality control of the services which is just the right thing to do, don't you think?

The diabetics and their families are in the best position to assess the quality of the services and facilities because they are at the receiving end of both. We do not want anyone to evaluate the quality of services who have not even actually experienced the best of the services or the lack thereof.

Community participation will be encouraged to fight diabetes. The health, psychological and social effects of diabetes will be confronted as well as awareness will be promoted. People will be advised to have test periodically so that early treatment can be started. This will be a crucial part of diabetes prevention.

They planned to have a publicity campaign with the focus on the incidence of diabetes. In fact in 2003, an endocrinologist invited by the Ministry of Health on the program of visiting doctors called diabetes as the "disease of the century." Doctors also expect about half of the people inflicted by this condition do not know they have it.

The growing crisis is the fact that type 2 diabetes is linked to lack of exercise and obesity which are lifestyle risk factors. Diabetes is expected to cost $2.7 billion US a year to treat in 2020. This is according to Daman which is the national health insurer. That is why they instituted a "lifestyle coaching" service so that the burden on the health care system will be reduced.

They had a 5km walk as part of the WALK UAE event. The number of participation doubled so awareness is growing. The walk was organized by the Abu Dhabi's Imperial College of London. They partnered with the Emirates Foundation. You see, they are working hard to make this work - the Ten-Year Plan of Diabetes Prevention.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Diabetes Status Affects Brain Damage in Dementia

Diabetes therapy helpful in dementia? The finding of this study is definitely helpful in determining what to do therapeutically speaking as it is quite revealing how different the injury patterns are between those who have diabetes and those without. This is why we take good care of ourselves. I can't wait to hear what the researchers will do as this opens up doors for discovering treatment options.

Dementia patients who were elderly and were with or without diabetes seem to have definite patterns of cerebral damage. This is according to the study findings that were published in the Archives of Neurology. University of Washington's Joshua A. Sonnen, M.D. in Seattle and his colleagues conducted a wide-ranging neuropathologic evaluation of 259 participants in a community-based study of incident dementia.

The participants underwent autopsies, including 196 with known diabetes status. Among those without dementia, the researchers found that biochemical and neuropathologic end points were the same in the diabetics and those without diabetes.

But among the 71 participants with dementia, the researchers found that the diabetics whose diabetes was treated tended to have more microvascular infarcts. They also had a higher concentration of cortical interleukin-6. Those without diabetics and had dementia tended to have more amyloid-beta peptide. They also had increased levels of F2-isoprostanes in the cerebral cortex.

Among the participants who had dementia and whose diabetes was untreated tended to have more amyloid plaque load. These new characterizations of two different patterns of injury depending on whether they have diabetes or not may have some implications treatment-wise.

The researchers tested the hypothesis that diabetes leads to definite neuropathologic procedures that is a factor to the development of dementia and that this could be suppressed by anti diabetic treatment. That is why they concluded that their findings may have some implications in diabetes therapy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Patients May Participate in a Walking Program

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a complication that could come along with diabetes. So many millions are living with diabetes and the number is still rising. In fact, it is expected to rise to more than 25 million Americans by 2010.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy can lead to foot ulcers which sometimes will require amputation. While before the recommendation of scientists and physicians is for those with foot ulcers to stay off their feet, now there is a new graduated walking program where these people can participate and therefore prevent some illnesses that could threaten life.

Due to numbness or loss of feeling in the foot, diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder that affects the feet and the legs. It leads to pain and ulceration. Ulcers could be the result because of loss of muscle. This exposes the bones to a lot of pressure under the foot.

Doctors recommend exercise for the diabetics because there has been proof that it lessens the mortality risk as well as the occurrence of a cardiovascular disease. Joseph LeMaster who is University of Missouri's associate professor of community and family medicine said that type 2 diabetics can increase their mortality risk by 39% and their risk for cardiovascular disease by 34% if they do not do some form of exercise of moderate intensity regularly.

The diabetics are known to be less active than the regular population and those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy are found to be even less physically active. So in a study at the University of Missouri, LeMaster checked the effects of exercise involving the lower extremity and walking program on the development of diabetic foot ulcer.

Here's how he did it. He assigned the diabetic subjects with this nerve condition into two groups. One group was monitored often and given exercises to strengthen the legs and a walking program that was graduated. In addition, this group received a telephone call every two weeks to motivate them. The other group is the control group. Both groups received eight sessions with a physical therapist and also some form of diabetic foot care education.

What did LeMaster find? He observed an increase in the total of foot lesions and ulcers during the first six months. But guess what he found after a year? Drum roll, please! The number of foot lesions and ulcers has started to go down in the first group compared to the control group. This shows that the risk has gone down too.

What is the moral lesson of this finding? Since weight-bearing exercise did not result in in increase of foot ulcers, it follows that this type of exercise should be safe for diabetics provided the walking program is closely supervised by a medical professional and that they have no ulcers at the start and have appropriate footwear. This type of exercise therefore is recommended for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Diabetes Complications and Ways to Avoid Them

Diabetes complications are many but there are ways to avoid them. The top thing to do is to commit to the lifelong responsibility of managing the condition. The diabetes health team will help and give support but the onus is on us to take care of ourselves by eating healthy, moving more, keeping healthy weight and blood glucose level and following doctor's order.

Quit smoking and you will lower risk to develop diabetes complications. So do keeping the cholesterol and blood pressure under control and keeping the vaccines like for flu, pneumonia, tetanus shot with the 10-year boosters. Ask your doctor about hepatitis vaccine and for other ones you may need.

Then make sure to take care of your teeth as diabetes may make you vulnerable to gum infections. Pay particular attention to your feet also to avoid problems by daily washing in lukewarm water and moisturizing the ankles and feet with lotion. Check for blisters, sores, etc every day and see the doctor if any wound does not heal in a few days.

Be responsible about drinking alcohol in moderation. Drink only with a meal and count the calories from the alcohol consumption. And because diabetes increases the risk for stroke and heart attack, take a low-dose aspirin every day but ask the doctor the strength that fits you best.

Last but not least, have an annual physical and eye exam as the doctor will be able to see signs of diabetes complications and help you take steps to avoid them. Finally, be stress-free by learning how to relax. I am going to send people who signed up for alerts and tips some ways to relax. You can sign up to receive tips and alert at this page on diabetes complications.

Then there is the VVRH. What I like about the Valley View Regional Hospital is their Diabetes Self-Management Education Program that offers information and skills needed to diabetics so they can manage diabetes and avoid serious complications like blindness, amputations and kidney damage.

That is why I commend the Valley View Regional Hospital's Diabetes Self-Management Education Program. It will really help the diabetics avoid those complications. But my question is, why is it that a program such as this are in some places and not in others? I shot them an email to ask this but I have not heard from them.

Hopefully you can tell any health care team so they can show you the directions where to go for such a program. And then if your area's hospital does not have a similar program, encourage them to have one so we can all work together to prevent diabetes complications.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diabetes Conference Helps Diabetics Cope

Diabetes Conference, the 30th one presented by the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi was such a big help for the diabetics because there were topics on how to look after the condition from diabetes educators themselves. This allowed the attendees to put the things they need to do right in the forefront of their minds.

This type of diabetes conference should be offered all over the country so every diabetic can avail himself of the chance to attend. This is great news for JPS Health Network to consider coverage for weight loss surgery. It's a good thing they are doing more than paying lip service to the prevention of diabetes.

Although the patient will still have to go through counseling regarding nutrition and diet, it is still a step in the right direction to have a plan like this come on the board level. Hopefully all others will follow suit. And this is what some people do. Let me tell you the story.

Someone attended his very first conference on Children with Diabetes and he was impressed. He thought it was incredible and changed his life in more ways than one. So over a few months he tried to explore the experiences he had and the things he learned.

The Friends for Life Conference he attended was unique in the sense that it focused on Type one diabetics. Other conferences had to balance the needs of type 1 and type 2 diabetics. That was okay for him because he was able to make those conferences worth his time. An example is here for you to scroll down for a video on pre-diabetes conference in Barcelona .

But this large conference was different for him. For one thing the organizers asked for his help. Jeff and Laura the organizers had been doing this for 15 years and now the children they are trying to help are growing up. They will continue to focus on children with diabetes but they want to do it for adults too.

So they needed some feedback and gave the people a chance to help shape the conference designed for type 1 diabetics. Imagine having the chance to shape up a huge diabetes conference. What would you do? It was easy for they needed answers to these questions:

  • What challenges in life were thrown to you most often? Do you have the help to deal with those challenges? Do you need more resources? If so, what are they?
  • What do you think is the best format for the conference? Should it be with a panel of experts or just someone leading the discussion?
  • What topics should be included in the sessions that people will find worth offering?

There you have what they need. They understand that recognizing the needs for the conference may take a few years. It is our responsibility to help them do this. We know that people wanted something like this. They know that a meeting like this magnitude will good and one way to help the diabetics is through a diabetes conference.