Category Archives: Diabetes

Waist circumference is stronger predictor of heart disease than BMI, study

Share

burger-and-friesFrom Intermountain Health

A new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore lends more evidence to the idea that it’s better to be shaped like a pear — with weight around the hips — as opposed to an apple — with weight around the abdomen.

Researchers from the two centers found that abdominal obesity — or having an apple-shaped body — is a strong predictor of serious heart disease in patients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and haven’t displayed any symptoms of heart disease.

Apple-shaped bodies are already associated with metabolic syndrome (which includes high blood pressure, high sugar levels and high cholesterol), as well as coronary artery disease and heart failure, but this new study found that waist circumference is also a strong predictor of left ventricular dysfunction in patients. Metabolic syndrome is often accompanied by excess body fat around the abdomen. Continue reading

Share

Medicare proposes expansion of counseling program for people at risk of diabetes

Share

GlucometerBy Mary Agnes Carey
Kaiser Health News

As the health law turned six Wednesday, federal officials proposed the expansion of a Medicare diabetes prevention program funded by the landmark measure.

The pilot program, developed and administered by the YMCA, helped Medicare enrollees at high risk of developing the disease improve their diets, increase their exercise and lose about 5 percent of their body weight.

Beneficiaries in the program, funded by an $11.8 million grant provided by the health law, attended weekly meetings with a lifestyle coach to develop long-term changes to their diet, discussed ways to get more physical activity and made behavior changes that would help control their weight and decrease their risk of Type 2 diabetes. Participants could also attend monthly follow-up meetings to help keep their new habits in place.

Compared to other beneficiaries also at risk of developing diabetes, Medicare estimated savings of $2,650 for each program enrollee over a 15-month period, more than enough to cover the cost of the program, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Continue reading

Share

Death rates rise among middle-aged whites

Share

By Lisa Gillespie
KHN

Study Finds ‘Mortality Gap’ Among Middle-Aged Whites

Don’t blame suicide and substance abuse entirely for rising death rates among middle-aged white Americans, asserts a new study out Friday.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 8.42.43 AM

“Death gap” for middle-aged whites widest in the south.

They’re both factors, but the bigger culprit is almost two decades of stalled progress in fighting leading causes of death — such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease — according to a Commonwealth Fund analysis of data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fund studied actual and expected death rates, and causes of death, for working-age adults from 1968 through 2014.

The “death gap” was most pronounced in seven states: West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas.

Its analysis follows a much-discussed study circulated late last year that found death rates had been rising for non-Hispanic, white Americans between ages 45 and 54 since 1999, following several decades of decline. The two Princeton economists who authored that study — one was Angus Deaton, last year’s winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economic science — attributed the turnabout to rising rates of drug abuse, suicides and alcohol-related liver disease.

“White Americans are now facing a substantial ‘mortality gap’,” according to Commonwealth, which cited higher-than-expected death rates for white adults ages 45 to 54 in 2014. Continue reading

Share

Rising obesity puts strain on nursing homes

Share
Three members of the nursing staff assisted Lee Nalls, who is staying at Generations of Red Bay after having a stroke. The facility has a specially outfitted wing that can accommodate 10 obese patients. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times)

Three members of the nursing staff assisted Lee Nalls, who is staying at Generations of Red Bay after having a stroke. The facility has a specially outfitted wing that can accommodate 10 obese patients. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times)

By Sarah Varney

RED BAY, Ala. — At 72, her gray hair closely shorn, her days occupied by sewing and television, Wanda Chism seems every bit a typical nursing home patient — but for her size.

Chism is severely obese, unable to leave her bed without a mechanical lift and a team of nurses. She has not walked in years. Her life is circumscribed by the walls of her room.

Obesity is redrawing the common imagery of old age: The slight nursing home resident is giving way to the obese senior, hampered by diabetes, disability and other weight-related ailments.

Facilities that have long cared for older adults are increasingly overwhelmed — and unprepared — to care for this new group of morbidly heavy patients. Continue reading

Share

You can buy insulin without prescriptions – but should you?

Share
121415-tribble-insulin-1_770

Carmen Smith now gets the insulin she needs via her doctor’s prescription. When she lacked health insurance, buying a version of the medicine over the counter was cheaper, she says. But it was hard to get the dose right. (Photo by Lynn Ischay for NPR)

By Sarah Jane Tribble
Ideastream

As anyone who needs insulin to treat diabetes can tell you, that usually means regular checkups at the doctor’s office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications. But here’s a little known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription.

Carmen Smith did that for six years when she didn’t have health insurance, and didn’t have a primary care doctor. She bought her insulin without a prescription at WalMart.

“It’s not like we go in our trench coat and a top hat, saying, ‘Uh I need the insulin,’” says Smith, who lives in Cleveland. “The clerks usually don’t know it’s a big secret. They’ll just go, ‘Do we sell over-the-counter insulin?’”

Smith keeps the tools for controlling her diabetes in this kit, which contains metformin, syringes, fast-acting insulin for daytime use and slow-release for overnight. (Photo by Lynn Ischay for NPR)

Smith keeps the tools for controlling her diabetes in this kit, which contains metformin, syringes, fast-acting insulin for daytime use and slow-release for overnight. (Photo by Lynn Ischay for NPR)

Once the pharmacist says yes, the clerk just goes to get it, Smith says. “And you purchase it and go about your business.”

But it’s still a pretty uncommon purchase.

Smith didn’t learn from a doctor that she could buy insulin that way. In fact, many doctors don’t know it’s possible.

When she no longer had insurance to help pay for doctors’ appointments or medicine, Smith happened to ask at WalMart if she could get vials of the medicine without a prescription. To figure out the dose, she just used the same amount a doctor had given her years before.

It was a way to survive, she says, but no way to live. It was horrible when she didn’t get the size of the dose or the timing quite right. Continue reading

Share

Guidelines boost diabetes screening for overweight adults

Share

glucose-monitorBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

More people who are overweight or obese may get screened for diabetes under new guidelines released this week by a panel of prevention experts.

Those whose blood sugar is higher than normal now can be referred to nutrition and exercise counseling without paying anything out of pocket for it.

“Obesity and overweight have been risk factors all along for diabetes,” says Dr. Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “But we haven’t had guidelines that actually said, ‘Screen those folks.’” Continue reading

Share

Help for the holidays: 5 tips to keep your diabetes in control

Share

uncooked-turkey-in-potFrom the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The holidays only come once a year, but they last for weeks—from Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s Day. Temptations go with the season, from treats at work to food-filled family celebrations to edible gifts.

If you have diabetes, you’re already familiar with managing what you eat to keep your blood sugar levels on target. Use these tips for a little extra help staying on track during this most wonderful—and challenging—time of the year.

1. Stick to your plan: Stay on your regular food, activity, and medication schedule as much as possible. Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast, and if you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs like potatoes and bread during the meal. If you slip up, get right back on track at your next meal.

2. Stay in control: It’s easier to do if you:

  • Eat more slowly.
  • Start with soup or vegetables to tame your appetite.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, which can open the gateway to overeating.

3. Fit in favorites: Savor a few special treats you can’t get any other time of year.

4. Stay active: Physical activity can help make up for eating more than usual, and it helps you deal with the stress of the season.

5. Get enough sleep: Too little sleep makes it harder to control your blood sugar, and it makes you hungry.

And keep in mind what the season is really about: celebrating traditions and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on family and fun, you’re likely to focus less on food. Plan ahead to enjoy the holiday season and take care of your health while you do.

For more information go to:

CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation

National Diabetes Education Program

Eat Right, Be Active, Stay Healthy

Tips for Safe Travels

CDC Diabetes on Facebook

@CDCDiabetes on Twitter

 

Share

New health plans offer discounts for diabetes care

Share

Glucometer showing a blood sugar of 105By Michelle Andrews
KHN

Talk about targeted. Consumers scrolling through the health plan options on the insurance marketplaces in a few states this fall may come upon plans whose name — Leap Diabetes Plans — leaves no doubt about who should apply.

Offered by Aetna in four regions next year, the gold-level plans are tailored for the needs of people with diabetes.

They feature:

  • $10 copays for the specialists diabetics need such as endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and podiatrists, and offer
  • free blood sugar test strips, glucose monitors and other diabetic supplies, and
  • A care management program with online tools and coaching helps people manage their condition day-to-day.

The plans also offer:

  • Financial incentives, including a $50 gift card for getting an A1c blood test twice a year to measure blood sugar levels and
  • a $25 card for hooking up a glucometer or biometric tracker to the Aetna site.

“It was a good time to design a product that was a little more personalized, as opposed to generic,” says Jeff Brown, vice president of consumer product, network and distribution at Aetna. “We saw diabetes as a compelling need, and a growing need.”

It’s unclear whether the diabetes plans are a good buy for people with diabetes.

Aetna is debuting the diabetes plans next year in four markets: Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., Northern Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania.

It’s unclear whether the diabetes plans are a good buy for people with diabetes. The cut rates for specialist visits only apply if they’re related to diabetes care, not for other conditions someone may have.

Meanwhile, coverage for medications, which may cost consumers hundreds of dollars every month, is no different in the diabetes plans than in other gold plans. Continue reading

Share

Citing cost to taxpayers, cities and states tackle obesity

Share

ScaleBy Teresa Wiltz
Stateline

More than 35 percent of Arkansas adults are obese, making it the heaviest state in the nation.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson looked at those numbers and saw two problems: an increased risk of all sorts of health challenges, and an increased burden on taxpayers.

Armed with data about the devastating effects of obesity, Hutchinson, a Republican, last month launched a 10-year plan to combat the problem in his state, from tightening nutritional standards in schools to creating more walkable communities and improving access to affordable, healthy foods.

“I’m a conservative,” Hutchinson said. “I’m concerned about tax dollars as well as good health. There’s a consequence to the taxpayer because of bad health habits.”

Arkansas isn’t the only state to take on obesity this year. Governors in New York, Georgia and Tennessee have all announced plans to combat high rates of obesity among their citizens.

Nationwide, a third of all adults—78 million—are obese, up nearly 50 percent since 1990, according to Health Intelligence, a health data analysis site.

The top 10 heaviest states are in the South and the Midwest, according to a new report by the State of Obesity, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health, an advocacy and research group based in Washington, D.C.sln_obesitytable

Cities and states have a vested interest in tackling the issue. Obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher, is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and can cause a host of chronic health issues, from diabetes to high blood pressure to cancer.  Continue reading

Share

Diabetes in the US population

Share

Glucometer showing a blood sugar of 105From the National Institutes of Health 

Diabetes is a disorder in how the body uses glucose, a sugar that serves as the body’s fuel. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make insulin, a hormone that triggers cells throughout the body to take up glucose from blood.

In type 2 diabetes—the most common type—the body doesn’t make or use insulin well. Both types can lead to heart, kidney, nerve, and eye diseases over time.

Hispanic Americans had the highest prevalence of diabetes at 19-23%, with up to 49% of that undiagnosed. About 21-22% of non-Hispanic black adults had diabetes, with up to 37% undiagnosed.

Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest prevalence of diabetes at 10-11%.

To assess how common diabetes is, researchers at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) analyzed data collected in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). NHANES is a periodic survey of a representative sample of the U.S. population.

Recent surveys included blood tests and other measurements. The researchers, led by Drs. Andy Menke and Catherine Cowie, examined data gathered from almost 2,800 people during the 2011-2012 survey cycle. The study was published on September 8, 2015, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Continue reading

Share

More than half of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed

Share

New statistics also show rising prevalence of diabetes among all groups

From the National Institutes of Health

More than half of Asian Americans and nearly half of Hispanic Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their results were published Sept. 8 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association

Additionally, prevalence of diabetes for all American adults went up, from nearly 10 percent to over 12 percent between 1988 and 2012.

Print

The graph shows the percentage of the U.S. adult population – both as a whole and by ethnic/racial subgroup – with diabetes (blue bars) and the percentage who have diabetes that has not been diagnosed (green bars), according to findings from researchers supported by the NIH and the CDC and published in the Sept. 8 issue of JAMA.

Diabetes prevalence – how common the condition is – also went up in every age, sex, level of education, income and racial/ethnic subgroup. Continue reading

Share

Back to school with type 1 diabetes – Special event tonight

Share

MKTG_JDRFlogo

Special event: Back to School and T1D
Friday, August 21, 2015
6:00-7:30pm

JDRF and Seattle Children’s Hospital are hosting an event for patients and families to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year.

This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.

Please RSVP at backtoschool-t1D.eventbrite.com

Our panel includes:

  • Grace Kim, MD–Pediatric Endocrinologist, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

To register, please visit www.backtoschool-t1d.eventbrite.com or contact Karine Roettgers kroettgers@jdrf.org or 206.708.2240

JDRF is the largest nonprofit funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in the world. Our goal is to eventually cure and prevent T1D entirely. Along the way to a cure, we seek to deliver an ongoing stream of therapies until we have turned Type One into Type None.

Share

Cost of diabetes drugs often overlooked, but shouldn’t be

Share

GlucometerBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

When it comes to treating chronic conditions, diabetes drugs aren’t nearly as sexy as say, Sovaldi, last year’s breakthrough hepatitis C drug that offers a cure for the chronic liver infection at a price approaching six figures.

Yet an estimated 29 million people have diabetes — about 10 times the number of people with hepatitis C — and many of them will take diabetes drugs for the rest of their lives. Cost increases for both old and new drugs alike are forcing many consumers to scramble to pay for them.

“Every week I see patients who can’t afford their drugs.”

“Every week I see patients who can’t afford their drugs,” says Dr. Joel Zonszein, an endocrinologist who’s director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Many people with diabetes take multiple drugs that work in different ways to control their blood sugar. Although some of the top-selling diabetes drugs like metformin are modestly priced generics, new brand-name drugs continue to be introduced that act in different ways.

They may be more effective and have fewer side effects, but it often comes at a price. For the fourth year in a row, spending on diabetes drugs in 2014 was higher on a per member per year basis than it was for any other class of traditional drug, according to the Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report. Less than half of the prescriptions filled for diabetes treatments were generic. Continue reading

Share

Event: Back to school and type 1 diabetes

Share
JDRF Logo
Teen/College Pre Events

Back to School and T1D

Friday, August 21, 2015 6:00-7:30pm

Join us at Seattle Children’s Hospital to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year. This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.  Please RSVP by August 14.

Our panel includes:

  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
To register, please visit www.backtoschool-t1d.eventbrite.com or contact Karine Roettgers kroettgers@jdrf or 206.708.2240
Share