Diabetes dilemmas, a small dose for you (click here)

Diabetes ravages your body by clogging blood vessels, releasing toxic chemicals and increasing risk. For example, risk of heart disease increases by four times, risk of kidney failure, risk of blindness, risk of amputation, risk of stroke and risk of nerve damage all escalate. Diabetes is such a coward…it does most of this evil work silently. The only hint is a sugar that creeps up and a test called A1C that shows that your sugar has been out of control. You turn the food on this plate into sugar and if you are diabetic, you just don't manage it well.

Diabetes risk, family history, Framingham and type two or type one are terms you hear a lot in connection with diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how you got here. Risk factors for diabetes were defined in a Massachusetts town called Framingham—the same town where risk factors for heart disease were first studied. Please remember, if YOU have risk and you have children, THEY have risk. Virtually all of the national guidelines for diabetes and heart disease talk about risk and fighting it EARLY.  The YMCA has a new program to help. Visit www.ymca.net/about_the_ymca/press_release_20100414_ymca_unitedhealth.html

How does it start? Family history plays a part for both type 2 (the kind that doesn’t usually require insulin shots) and for type 1(the kind that requires insulin). Something happens (may be a virus, a chemical, but no one knows for sure), but it triggers diabetes.

Cells in the pancreas called beta cells make insulin and react to increases in sugar after a meal. Did you know that your body breaks down a lot of what you eat into sugar? It’s true for that fish and carrots or that steak and that potato you may have had last Saturday at dinner. When that happens, the cells make insulin which puts the sugar to work.

Diabetes happens when the special pancreas cells start to die, blunting your ability to release insulin in response to food. What this means is that your body starts to lose its ability to put sugar to work. One of the best tests of how well your body manages sugar is called the A1C. This test is now used in the guidelines from the American Diabetes Association to help your doctor decide which medicines and how many medicines to use to get that sugar under control.

Many of us have heard about controversy regarding Avandia (rosiglitazone) based on an analysis of many studies and some results dating back to 2007. A more recent study released at the American Diabetes Association meeting (BARI 2D) found that there was no increase in heart attack or death in patients taking rosiglitazone. The FDA is concerned about all of the research surrounding Avandia and Actos (pioglitazone) and will hold a combined committee meeting on July 13 and 14th to sort things out. Until then, talk to your doctor about all of the treatment options for diabetes and review which one(s) offer the best benefit to risk results for you. 

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