Author Archives: Sarah

About Sarah

Dr. Sarah Khan is a graduate of Albany College of Pharmacy and a retail pharmacist. She has close relationships with her patients, and specializes in diabetes management. She's also a proud wife and mother who can't get enough top 40 music!

Invokana is a Revolutionary New Drug Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

Invokana is the newest diabetes drug to hit the market and uses an innovative mechanism to help control blood sugar for type 2 diabetes. Invokana, produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, will make a splash in the market as this is the first drug of its kind.

invokana

The statistic for this drug that I’m most interested in is the reduction in A1C percentage. Hemoglobin A1C is the percent of glucose that is bound to red blood cells. It also gives a three-month big picture of the patient’s control of their blood sugar. The higher the number the higher the person’s daily blood sugars will be; the goal is to be under seven percent. Trials have shown that Invokana has lowered A1C percent by approximately 1 percent over 26 weeks with a 300 mg dose and a 0.77 percent decrease with a 100 mg dosage. A one-percent reduction is approximately a decrease of 14 points on an average daily blood glucose reading. Lower blood sugars overall will prevent complications which can include blindness, renal failure and amputations. (more…)

Mari Ruddy’s Red Riders Aim to Raise $4.5 Million for Diabetes in 2013

Last year I participated in the Saratoga Springs Tour de Cure, an annual bike ride that is held nationwide to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. One of the most inspiring things about the Tour are the Red Riders, individuals who live and ride with diabetes. To better explain what the Red Rider program is and about her own aspirations, I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the Red Rider program, Mari Ruddy!

She runs the daily business and management of TeamWILD, a program that teaches adults how to live with diabetes through exercise. She also coaches and speaks at ADA Tour de Cure rides. Mari’s working on a book that will no doubt highlight the success of the Red Riders, the health battles she’s personally fought and won, and offer guidance and insight for diabetics to truly live.

Tell me about the Red Rider program.

I’m the founder of the Red Riders, who are cyclists with diabetes. I also started the first Team Red. Now all 90 Tour de Cure rides have Red Riders and a Team Red. The first year there were 111 Red Riders. This summer, 2013, there will be [more than] 7,000 Red Riders in the US. In 2012, all the Red Riders together raised $3.9 million. The goal in 2013 is [for] the Red Riders [to] collectively raise $4.5 million. The Tour itself raised more than $26 million in 2012. These numbers are very exciting.

How much money does “your” Tour raise?

My “home” Tour for the past seven years was the one in Colorado. Now that I’ve moved back to my home state, I consider the Tour de Cure Twin Cities in Minnesota my home ride! We intend to raise $1 million this year at the Minnesota Tour. (more…)

Type 3 Diabetes: The Link Between Alheizmer’s and Diabetes

When I was told that there could be another type of diabetes all I could do was cringe. With the rate at which diagnosis of type 2 is rising, adding one more type to mix is an overwhelming thought.

Type 3 diabetes was first discovered in 2005. A study from Brown University has linked that eating too much sugar has an effect on brain function. Insulin resistance means that circulating insulin is not being used the way it should to get glucose into cells. If the brain does not receive the energy and nourishment it needs, it begins to deteriorate, and those deteriorating brain cells can result in confusion and memory loss. Over the long term, more permanent memory loss could progress to Alzheimer’s disease.

The nutrition recommendations to help prevent type 3 diabetes are the same as they are for type 2, which include eating sugar in moderation, managing your weight, and eating smaller portion sizes. More studies will need to be conducted to confirm that type 3 diabetes is a separate form of diabetes versus a complication of type 2 diabetes. (more…)

Solving Obesity Requires More Than a Lorcaserin Prescription

Lorcaserin was approved by the FDA on June 27 and will be sold as the brand name Belviq. Produced by Arena Pharmaceuticals out of San Diego, California, it is indicated for the treatment of obesity in addition to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise. Upon that approval news, I was quoted in an article on SheKnows.com saying “This is a sad attempt by the FDA to thwart the obesity epidemic,” and I stand by my comment.

I also mentioned in that statement that we need a plan to solve the problem, so here goes.

A Vision for Ending Obesity

I just read this fantastic book by Dr. Francine Kaufman called Diabesity: The obesity-diabetes epidemic that threatens America– and what we must do to stop it. This women is an inspiration to females in the medical profession like myself and to diabetics all over the world. She’s specializes in pediatric endocrinology, which is the treatment of children with hormone conditions, particularly diabetes. What she’s found in her years of practice is a growing trend of youth developing type 2 diabetes. This was once previously called adult onset diabetes, but this is now not the case. The vast over-consumption of food beyond what our bodies actually need to function and the sedentary lifestyles that we now lead has caused our children to develop this devastating illness. I feel this is why the FDA is approving diet drugs when initially they were rejected due to side effect concerns.

The cost of medical care for diabetics is astronomical and with people developing it at earlier ages this will only exacerbate the problem. Part of the Affordable Health Care Act is a $13 billion fund with a committee developed to focus on prevention of diseases. This is where medical practice needs to move toward prevention and away from treatment. (more…)

Lorcaserin Side Effects Should Raise Flags for Potential Belviq Patients

There are mixed reviews about the recent approval of lorcaserin (Belviq) and its new availability as a prescription weight loss drug. Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States and across the world and the maker of lorcaserin, Arena Pharmaceuticals, will market this drug as a supplement to drug and exercise to help patients reach their weight loss goals faster. Every drug has side effects and I felt it was important to look closer at some of the possible reactions.

Lorcaserin activates the serotonin 2C receptor which helps you eat less and feel full sooner. Previous weight loss drugs activated the 2B receptor and caused damage to heart valves. Cardiovascular health will be monitored once this hits the market to ensure no damage to the heart valves occur, as there were concerns about this in trials. In October 2010, lorcaserin was rejected by the FDA due to a cancer signal being detected. It caused mammary tumors in rats, which the makers believe is related to the animal themselves and should not have the same effect in human subjects (although prolactin levels can become increased in humans leading to breast development in men and lactation in women).

Multiple studies had patients with and without diabetes treated long term for one to two years with nearly 8,000 patients participating. Those who were randomized with lorcaserin along with diet and exercise counseling lost 3 to to 3.7 percent more weight. The drug should be discontinued if the patient does not lose at least five percent of their body weight in the first twelve weeks. (more…)

Liposonix: An In-Depth Look at the Latest Cellulite Procedure

If you’ve ever wanted to get rid of stubborn cellulite, then you’ve likely researched all of the procedures, creams and pills out there to fight this unsightly fat that plagues so many women. But if you’ve come up short in your search, then there may be hope in the form of a new FDA-cleared procedure called Liposonix. 

After doing a profile piece on the procedure earlier this month, we now have more details about Liposonix from the creators themselves. Upon contacting a representative from the company, we were able to dig up some more information about the cellulite-reducing procedure. Here’s what we found.

Q: Your website is touting one procedure, one hour. But can a patient after the 12 week recovery period receive additional treatments? (more…)

R3 Flat Belly Shots Not Necessary for Taut Abs

R3 Flat Belly Shot is touted as a 100 percent organic, chemical-free, natural herbal supplement that helps people lose weight. Producers of the supplement claim that the weight is lost primarily in the belly region, which is a trouble zone for most people. And while this product may seem to be a healthy, natural option for increased weight loss, it may not be worth the investment.

R3 Flat Belly Shots contain such ingredients as cha de bugre, capsicum, tumeric, chickweed, spirulina, acacia, willow bark and cinnamon. As a way of dissecting this product, we’ve defined and described each ingredient’s individual properties below.

Cha de bugre comes from South America and is similar to the coffee bean. It has stimulant-like and diuretic properties similar to caffeine. Drinking caffeinated beverages while on anything that contains cha de bugre should be avoided to prevent worsening side effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate. If you are taking lithium, which is a mood stabilizer, the dosage may need to be lowered as cha de bugre decreases the elimination of lithium. (more…)

Liposonix: The Latest Craze in Fat Removal Procedures

We all have that pair of skinny jeans that we almost squeeze into. Well, there may be a new tool on the market that will make them fit once and for all.

Liposonix – a procedure that was cleared by the FDA in 2011 – uses high-intensity ultrasonic energy to remove fat from the under-layer of the skin without damaging the skin or organs.

Exactly how does it work? A special machine uses ultrasonic energy to target the fat located in the layer under the skin known as the subcutaneous layer. The zapped fat is then eliminated by the body’s immune system and removed by the liver. The treatment lasts approximately one hour, and the results are usually maximized at eight to 12 weeks.

On average, patients lose 2.8 centimeters, or about an inch. Keep in mind, this is the average fat loss so some people will lose more and some will lose less. I think that’s a pretty big gamble for the amount of money the procedure will cost. For some people that could be the difference between a size six and a size four, which could be priceless to them. (more…)

Foods Rich in Isoflavones Are Known as Natural Birth Control

If you are frequently forgetting to taking oral contraceptives at the same time every day, you are increasing the chances of becoming pregnant. If you don’t want to switch to another form of birth control are there any foods that might help or hurt your contraceptive chances?

I spoke with our resident expert on all things food-related, Mary Hartley, RD, and this is what she told me. “Foods that are high in isoflavones have been called ‘natural contraceptives.'”

Isoflavones are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that could, in theory, create hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation and interact with birth control. Genistein, the most potent isoflavone, is found in legumes, and so soy foods, peas, peanuts, chick peas, and fava beans have been thought to influence fertility. Wild yams (not to be confused with sweet potato yams) contain the isoflavone, diosgenin, but it has a very weak effect compared to the body’s own reproductive hormones. At this point, the potential health benefits and risks of the various isoflavones are under investigation, but there is no current data to suggest that normal intakes are likely to cause hormonal imbalances. (more…)

Know Your Birth Control Options after Weight Loss Surgery

With the risk of blood clots and other complications following weight loss surgery, women are having to find other options than a typical estrogen-based contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. Estrogen-based contraceptives, like Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, that contain ethinyl estradiol are more likely to cause blood clots and increase blood pressure. But don’t fret, there are a lot of options available.

Estrogen-free birth controls, or progestin-only birth controls, only contain one form of hormone but are still effective in preventing pregnancy. These are a good option for those who are overweight, have high blood pressure and are at risk for blood clots. Weight loss surgery patients probably have at least two of these three issues.

Oral contraceptives include Jolivette, also known as Ortho-Micronor, which is taken daily; the Depo-provera shot, which is administered in a doctor’s office every three months; and Mirena, the intrauterine device or IUD. One concern with progestin birth controls is the increase risk of weight gain. This is usually pretty minimal and can be controlled with proper nutrition and exercise. (more…)