A year-long study regarding the connection between weight loss surgery and curing type 2 diabetes was released this week. The study showed that surgery seemed to be more effective than lifestyle change and medication for treating the disease. However, the tradeoff was that those who had the surgery were at a very common risk for complications. Is this just a one step forward and one step back scenario?
The Associated Press reported that a new publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association is stating that gastric bypass surgery can effectively treat type 2 diabetes in patients with mild to moderate obesity. This means people who are about 50 to 70 pounds overweight.
While the glowing light of the words “treatment for diabetes” seems impressive, it was also stated that of those in the study who received surgery, a third of them developed serious problems during the first year after surgery. The typical complications include infections, intestinal blockage, and bleeding. And then there was a much smaller percentage who experienced much more severe complications.
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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.
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.
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Just when you thought you knew what obese looked like, an army of skinny-fat people come marching along with little pot bellies hidden under their pear-shaped shirts. No, we’re not on the cusp of a diet-war, but diabetes and heart disease are waging a silent attack on people with normal weight obesity, also known as “skinny-fat.”
While the term normal weight obesity sounds as absurd as fat-free Twinkie, it’s a new and legitimate condition that, according to the Mayo Clinic, may afflict up to 30 million Americans.
In medical terms, normal weight obesity is typified by a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), usually 18.5-24.9, with a large percentage of body fat. In layman’s terms, people with normal weight obesity appear to be thin and healthy, but have large concentrations of central obesity—pooch bellies—and stores of fat around vital organs.
Led by Dr. Karine Sahakyan, The Mayo Clinic conducted a nearly 15-year study of 12,785 subjects, specifically geared toward determining the significance of central obesity. The doctors used a fun, new scientific measurement called “waist-to-hip ratio”—muffin top to where God intended your jeans to sit—as a means to statistically legitimize belly fat. They found that subjects with a normal BMI and a high waist-to-hip ratio—skinny-fat people—”had the highest cardiovascular death risk and the highest death risk…” out of all other demographics studied.
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A recent study found a correlation between how high a nation’s sugar consumption is and its type 2 diabetes rate. Now researchers are taking it a grim step further by estimating how many deaths can be directly attributed to sugary drinks.
Researchers at Harvard have linked sugary drinks to the deaths of 25,000 Americans every year and 180,000 deaths worldwide.
“We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity, and that a large number of deaths are caused by obesity-related diseases. But until now, nobody had really put these pieces together,” said Gitanjali Singh, the lead author of the five-year study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.
In a not-so-shocking development, The American Beverage Association issued a critical response to the study’s findings.
“It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer – the real causes of death among the studied subjects,” the industry group said in a written statement. “The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease.”
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