Nov 302011

Can Diabetes Lead to Heart problems?

One of the fatal complications that can be caused by Type 2 Diabetes is heart disease. Oftentimes, Metformin will be the drug of choice for the pre-treatment and the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. The Journal Circulation and Heart Failure recently published an article about how Metformin is able to also prevent death from heart disease caused by diabetes.

A study made at Baylor College of Medicine done by researchers and Michael E. DeBakey of VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas involved 6,185 Type 2 Diabetes patients who have heart failure. Twenty five percent of these patients were treated with Metformin. The research concluded with the following results:

  • After a two-year period, 15.8% or 246 patients who were treated with Metformin died.
  • After a two-year period, 25.5% or 1177 patients who were not treated with Metformin died.

Both of the groups that were part of the research had the same total rate of hospitalization due to heart failure as well as the rate of hospitalization. However, diabetic patients with heart failures that have undergone Metformin treatment had a higher chance of survival. The study concluded with the need for more related studies in order to discover effective therapies for patients that are diagnosed with both Type 2 Diabetes and heart failure.

Metformin is also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, or Fortamet in the market. These are brand names of Metformin that provide less side effects. Metformin belongs to a family of drugs known as biguanides, these are drugs that are effective in the regulation and he control of the insulin levels that are released by the liver. Other important facts about the drug include the following:

  • Also known as insulin-sensitizing drugs, they help prevent the fluctuation of glucose between meals allowing effective weight loss.
  • They also limit the total amount of insulin that comes from the pancreas instead of increasing it.
  • The amount of glucose coming from the small intestines and liver that enters the blood is also effectively minimized.

Type 2 Diabetes is known to promote insulin resistance. Biguances like Metformin attack the origin of the disease. In general, Metformin is a safe medication. However, there are rare instances where patients who take the drug develop lactic acidosis, which is a serious condition.

Ten to Thirty percent of Metformin users report that they experience gastrointestinal side effects, which subside overtime. If you experience a similar side effect that does stays long, you can consult your doctor for the administration of a lower dose. Other versions of Metformin such as Fortamet and Glumetza are known to have fewer side effects.

Individuals who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and have kidney, liver, or heart problems, including those who drink too much alcohol, are not advised to use Metformin.

Metformin should be taken regularly to be able to achieve its positive effects. However, there are some instances where its use should be discontinued temporarily. If you are suffering from severe diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, in need of less than normal fluid intake, you should alert doctors as they might advise to discontinue Metformin use temporarily. If you are undergoing X-ray procedures, you should also let your doctor know or ask beforehand if using Metformin when undergoing an X-ray scan is advisable.

Metformin is a popular choice as it is generically available and is cheaper than most drugs available for the successful treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

 November 30, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 262011

How Does Metformin And Other Anti Diabetic Drugs Interact With Food?

Most individuals suffering from Type 2 Diabetes think that food only contains fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. This is definitely not true.

Foods, especially those that originate from plants, possess different chemical compounds that also interact with the enzymes present in the liver. These enzymes are the very ones that are also used by the liver to destroy and detoxify active chemicals that are present in the medications you take to control diabetes. It would be advantageous to be able to discover which type of foods are able to recycle the active ingredients present in diabetes medications as well as which type of foods can slow it down as these will affect the rise and the dip of blood sugar levels.

How the food you eat will affect the diabetes medication you take in will depend on what enzyme is used by your liver. This is an overview of the interactions of several medications that are typically used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and how the food you eat affects how the liver will process them.

  1. Metformin, which is also known as Glucophage is one medication that does not get processed by the liver. This means the use of Metformin cannot be affected by the food you eat.
  2. Vildagliptin, which is also known as Galvus is a diabetes medication that is processed by the liver with cytochrome P450. However, the processing is very limited. Through consuming licorice, grapefruit, ginger, or hot peppers, you can increase the ability of this medication to decrease blood sugar levels in the body.
  3. Sitagliptin, which is also known as Januvia gets processed in the liver with the CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 enzymes. Avoid eating too much fruit and drinking fruit juices as these will interfere with the enzymes and they will increase the possibility of acquiring the side effects caused by the medication. When using Sitagliptin, you should avoid the consumption of mangoes, oranges, dragon fruits, rambutans, passion fruits, pawpaws, wild grapes, pomegrenates, wild mullberies, and kiwis.
  4. Pioglitazone, which is also known as Actos, is processed with the CYP2C8 enzyme. All of the fruits mentioned above will also affect this medication so it is important to avoid them especially pomegranate juice.
  5. The CYP2C8 enzyme also processes Rosiglitazone, also known as Avandia, so it is also advised to avoid the fruits mentioned earlier. The intake of promegrenate juice will also cause this medication to produce greater side effects so stay away from the fruit juice as much as possible.

Also remember that these diabetic medications will become more effective when you are following a healthy lifestyle, which includes the following:

  1. Eating the right amount of healthy foods
  2. Increased regular physical activities
  3. Reducing stress

These medications are not used to cure diabetes as the disease currently has no possible cures. Most of these medications will work for a certain period, but they will slowly lose their efficiency overtime as the body becomes immune to them. When these medications available lose their desired effect, injectable insulin might be your second best option.

 November 26, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 252011

How Does Heart Attack Survivors Respond to Taking Metformin?

A study was made in the Cardiology Unit of the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Sweden, which involved a group of researchers that aimed to discover how heart attack survivors that were diagnosed with diabetes respond to different types of treatments. On February 2011, the results of their findings were published in a journal named Diabetologia.

Included in the study were 1,145 patients that were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had also suffered and survived a heart attack. These patients where divided into three different groups.

  1. The first group where administered with insulin
  2. The second group where administered with insulin along with conventional treatment
  3. The third group were only provided with conventional treatment for 2.1 years

All of the patients were monitored at an average of 4.1 years. The study showed that the number of fatal heart attacks during the monitoring period was the same in the three groups. However, non-fatal heart attack rates differed. The highest rate of heart attacks that were non-fatal was in the group treated with insulin. The group who received conventional treatment had the lowest risk in death from cancer while the group that were administered with Metformin both had low risks in death from heart attack and from cancer compared to the other patients from the other groups.

Metformin, which is available in tablet form and is commonly known as Fortamet, Glucophage, or Glucophage CR is used to lower blood sugar levels. Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes commonly use it and it can also be used to prevent the acquisition of Type 2 Diabetes for those who have high risk in acquiring it. A study done in Canada shows that the use of both Avandia and Metformin helped decrease the risk of diabetes in volunteers who were pre-diabetic.

This medicine is commonly taken once, twice, or three times per day depending on your doctor’s prescription. A dosage of 500 milligrams twice per day or 850 milligrams once per day is the usual dose. Moreover, the dosage can be increased gradually mainly depending on how the blood sugar levels in the body react to the dosage.

The following effects are caused by the regular intake of Metformin:

  • The intestinal absorption of sugar is lessened
  • Insulin released by the pancreas is increased
  • Sugar production in the liver is decreased
  • Muscles and fat cells respond to insulin and efficiently take in the needed sugar.

In general, Metformin is considered safe to use, but it can also provide some side effects to someof its users. The most serious side effect that can be caused is lactic acidosis, which will have the following symptoms:

  • chills
  • cool or bluish skin
  • fatigue and muscle pains
  • dizziness , sleepiness, or nausea
  • difficulty in breathing / fast shallow breathing
  • irregular or slow heartbeats
  • pain in the abdominal area
  • diarrhoea or vomiting


Although it is a rare case, Metformin might also cause hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. This condition often occurs when Metformin is used along other anti-diabetic drugs. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include unexplainable hunger, tingling sensations in the hands and feet, sweating, involuntary shaking, and heartbeat.

Patients that have kidney problems should use Metformin cautiously as the body excretes it through urine. It is advised that patients, especially the elderly should first take some tests to determine their kidney functions and whether the medication is safe for use. Patients who will also undergo X-ray procedures are advised to temporarily stop taking Metformin for a few days before they undergo the X-ray scan.

 November 25, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 242011

Diabetes And Artificial Sweeteners – Are They Really As Good As They Say?

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, it is very important to take extra caution in maintaining the amount of sugar that you intake in your meals. Your dietician or doctor will often instruct you to cut down your sugar and carbohydrate intake but this will often require great discipline especially when you start craving for sweet foods. Good thing there are already a wide variety of artificial sweeteners available in the market. But finding the best ones among the multitude of sweeteners available can be very confusing.

Artificial sweeteners, also known as artificial sugars do not contain sugar at all but they taste like sugar. These sweeteners also do not affect the levels of blood sugar in your body. However, most of these artificial sweeteners might have a bit of calories or kilojoules in them.

These sweeteners are a popular alternative or substitute as they contain little to no calories and they also do not harm your blood sugar levels. The sweeteners, when inside the body are not broken down and processed so they easily pass the intestinal tract as is, except for aspartame.

These sweeteners are commonly used by manufacturers of products that cater do diabetics and those who are conscious about their weight and the type of food they are eating.

Aspartame, a nutritive sweetener, was invented during the 1980s. It was commonly known through its popular brand names such as Spoonfuls, Sweetmate, and Equal. Aspartame is taken from natural sources and it is metabolized and digested by the body, just like food containing protein. Unlike sugar, aspartame is considered 200 times more sweeter so much less amounts of this sweetener is needed to satisfy your sweetness cravings.

Aspartame can be found in the following: Desserts, different kinds of snack foods, gums and candies, salad dressings, beverages, and breakfast cereals.

Another known sweetener is Sucralose, which is also popularly known as Splenda. It is known to be 600 times sweeter than sugar and is in a crystalline powder form made from sugar. Sucralose cannot be absorbed in the body’s digestive tract so has zero calories.

Sucralose or Splenda can be found in the following: most packaged foods, baked goods, frozen foods, and hot or cold foods.

These artificial sweeteners that are easily available in the market should only be used to satisfy your cravings for something sweet. Health experts still advise that these sweeteners should be taken in moderation and physical activity, along with a healthy diet is still the best way available to reduce weight as well as caloric intake.

You should also take in consideration the fact that most of the foods where artificial sweeteners are used will still contain calories. It is true that the sweeteners themselves contain zero calories but the rest of the ingredients present in the food you eat will still contain some calories. Make sure to take special precautions and continue to monitor your caloric intake to be sure.

Artificial Sweeteners Side Effects to Consider

Also take note of the downsides of artificial sweeteners:

  • Artificial sweeteners often leave a bitter aftertaste, which is tolerable for some but can be bothersome for others.
  • Sucralose or Splenda might alter the intestinal bacterial environment in your body, increasing your risks in acquiring gastrointestinal infections caused by the infiltration of microorganisms that cause diseases. This has been proven through a study conducted by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (2008).
  • There are also reported cases that show artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, causing drug interactions according to the study made by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Moreover, further research is needed to prove this finding.

 November 24, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 232011

Diabetes and Insomnia – Are They Linked?

This is one question that has caused countless debates among medical experts. Although plenty of evidence has proven that those who suffer from diabetes also experience insomnia, the possibility of insomnia causing healthy individuals to acquire diabetes remains a question.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology published a study, which shows findings that may surprise you. Although the study conducted was relatively small compared to most of the available medical studies, it was still able to provide relevant understanding on whether insomnia indeed causes diabetes.

Most people understand that being overweight increases the risks of acquiring diabetes. They are also aware that those who have a family history of suffering from diabetes will increase one’s own chance of developing the disease at a certain point in their life.
Individuals suffering from diabetes can acquire insomnia, but how can those individuals suffering from insomnia acquire diabetes? It has been found that healthy individuals who are not able to get adequate amounts of sleep diminishes the body’s ability to proves insulin, thus increasing the chances of acquiring diabetes.

A particularly alarming finding was that even a single night of lack of sleep could significantly increase the chances of a healthy individual to acquire diabetes. The study concludes that a link is present between the ability of an individual’s body to process insulin as well as the quality of rest acquired.

But the study conducted was relatively small. This calls for further clinical researches to reach a definite conclusion. Nevertheless, the findings remain very interesting.

Studies have also been done that links obesity, another related factor to diabetes, and insomnia. This opens up another realm of discussion that explores the possibility of insomnia to indirectly cause diabetes to those who are having weight issues.

Regardless of the final conclusions that are to be made with how insomnia causes diabetes, it has been definite that individuals who generally have poor health have high chance in acquiring insomnia.

These findings encourage individuals suffering from diabetes to look for effective and natural relief such as a change in diet or regular physical activity as both of these can help decrease the chances of acquiring insomnia.

Others might need to search for more comprehensive cures such as over the counter or prescription sleep aid. Some might also consider homeopathic treatment like acupuncture.

Suffering from insomnia disrupts a healthy lifestyle. If not treated as soon as possible, it will also cause more serious problems in the long run.

Does insomnia really cause diabetes? A final conclusion must still be made. Nevertheless, those who are suffering from insomnia should still find the best ways available to cure it. It is always a better idea to be extra sure when it comes to your overall health.

 November 23, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 222011

9 Diabetes Risk Factors That Everyone Needs to Know About

Type 2 Diabetes affects over 18 million Americans; this is a huge number that continues to increase, as diabetes becomes an epidemic of this day and age. A larger number of Americans are also affected with pre-diabetes, a condition that can easily turn into full-blown diabetes if improper control is made. Diabetes does not only affect the United States, but it also a common disease that affects people from different parts of the globe.

Diabetes commonly occurs in middle-aged to old adults since it is an adult-onset type of disease. However, more and more cases of children and adolescents who are overweight and living in a sedentary lifestyle develop diabetes at an earlier age.

The following are major risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes:

  1. Statistics show that one in five people aged 65 and older have diabetes. Adults aged 45 years and older also have an increased risk of acquiring diabetes.
  2. Individuals who are overweight, or who have a BMI index that is greater than 25 have a higher risk of acquiring diabetes. More than eighty percent of those diagnosed with diabetes are overweight.
  3. Excess fat in the stomach area is linked to the body’s resistance to insulin, thus an increased risk in the acquisition of diabetes. Males who have waist circumference greater than 40 inches and females who have waist circumference greater than 35 inches have excess fat in their stomach area and have increased risks.
  4. If your family has a history of diabetes then there is also a high chance that you might develop the disease too. The risk factor increases as your relation to the family member with diabetes is closer.
  5. Your ethnic background is also a factor that affects your chances of acquiring diabetes. American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans are two and half times more prone to acquiring diabetes than Caucasians.
  6. Mothers who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes also increase their risk of acquiring diabetes in the future. Mothers who had gestational diabetes gave birth to a baby that weighs more than nine pounds. This diabetic condition occurs during the latter stages of pregnancy and goes away after birth.
  7. Those who have low levels of HDL (35 of lower) or low triglyceride levels (150 or higher) indicate that their bodies do not respond normally to insulin. This condition is known as insulin resistance, which increases the risks of acquiring diabetes.
  8. If you have a blood pressure of 140/90 or even higher, then you have an increased risk of acquiring diabetes. Having high blood pressure is closely linked to insulin resistance.
  9. Living a sedentary lifestyle will also increase your chances of acquiring diabetes as it impairs the natural ability of the cells in your body to remove sugar present in your blood. Not being able to regularly exercise at least three times a week is considered as a sedentary lifestyle.

A majority of individuals who have pre-diabetes are not aware of their condition. Without their proper knowledge, their condition is left unchecked and they will likely develop full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, it is important to take the necessary actions as soon as possible as it can be prevented. The following symptoms might help you determine whether you are suffering from diabetes:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Feeling a numbness in your legs or feet
  • Itching on your genital area
  • Blurred vision
  • Development of heart disease
  • Slow regeneration of damaged skin and gums
  • Urinary infections
  • The frequent feeling of thirst and the need to urinate

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advised that you get yourself checked to be sure. Even though these symptoms appear due to different reasons, it really won’t hurt to make sure so you will be able to take immediate and effective action to be able to control diabetes and find the best lifestyle modifications for you to be able to reverse it.

 November 22, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 212011

Diabetes and Stress – How Are They Linked?

Suffering from stress has already been known to provide unwanted effects on the body. But Type 2 Diabetes patients who are under stress actually have an increased risk in becoming unhealthy and acquiring the harms of it. Stress is now considered as one of the leading causes of death as it manifests itself into a wide array of medical conditions.

Stress is defined as a reaction to pressure, both physical and emotional, that is perceived as a form of threat, both real or imagined. This response to threat is also recognized as the “fight or flight” response that is intrinsic in humans.

Stress also affects the body’s blood sugar levels both directly and indirectly. The change in blood sugar level immediately occurs during the “fight or flight” response as the body immediately releases the stress hormones when threat is perceived. This increases your body’s blood sugar levels even if you have not consumed any food.

If you closely monitor your sugar levels, you will notice that it goes up when your stress level increases and it also lowers when your stress levels decreases. This proves that your stress levels and your blood sugar levels are indeed connected.

Knowing how to deal with stress, or stress management, is considered as the best possible way for yo to be able to beat it and lessen how it impacts your health. Know how to control your emotions and reactions and also know how to relax so that you can prevent the occurrence of complications caused by stress especially when diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

One of the best relaxing and physically beneficial methods available is regular exercise. Although it might seem counter-productive as it increases heartbeat, its long-term effects with the body as well as the release of serotonin caused by physical activity can help you reduce stress levels.

Exercise also helps cut down the excess fat in your body, which is dangerous as it affects your blood pressure. Fat can also easily get stored in your mid-section as it affects your health dramatically. As excess fat gets stored in your body’s abdominal area, it has a tendency to crowd your internal organs. The fat you notice externally is just the tip of the iceberg as the fat inside the body disrupts healthy bodily functions.

Carbohydrates are also burnt through exercise. This is very beneficial for diabetics, as this will reduce their risks of acquiring hyperglycemia. In general, exercise is a sure-fire solution to lower your body’s blood sugar levels. It will also help improve your body’s blood circulation, which is another known problem connected to diabetes.

Exercising will also help you reduce the emotional tension and your overall stress levels; this is another benefit you can acquire along with the physical and health improvements. One well-known exercise that involves the combination of breathing and mild exercise is Tai Chi. It is an ancient form of martial arts that is overlooked when it comes to its overall health potential as its graceful and easy-going movements deceive the eye. What most people do not know that meditation is an extremely powerful tool that effectively controls stress. It significantly brings down stress levels and relaxes the body.

A secret in reducing stress levels is to find a form of exercise and meditation that you will take pleasure in doing like reading a book or doing aerobic activities. These exercises will help eliminate the stress, which will be extremely beneficial for those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because it will help reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Not to mention, it will also help you manage your health condition.

 November 21, 2011  No Responses »
Nov 212011

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Metformin

1. Metformin can stop the progression of pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Through its use, along with proper diet and exercise, this one of a kind drug can do wonders.

2. Metformin can possibly help solve weight loss problems. The substance allows the cells in the body become more sensitive towards insulin, allowing the body to use less insulin for the transport of sugar as well as fat. Similar drugs like Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone) also provide the same effects, but they possess a side effect that promotes fat cell development.

3. The smell of Metformin might be a problem to you as most Type 2 diabetic patients complain that its odour is similar to mothballs or raw fish. What you can do is to remove the dose of the Metformin you will be taking and leave it out of the bottle for about five minutes to remove the unwanted odour.

4. A side effect of Metformin is vitamin B12 deficiency, which occurs due to long-term use of the substance. To avoid this side effect while continuously using Metformin for an extended period, you can take vitamin B supplements regularly to ensure you won’t become vitamin B12 deficient.

5. Magnesium deficiency is also another possible side effect of prolonged Metformin intake. Regular intake of minimal doses of magnesium supplement is advised, which is equivalent to less than 100 milligrams of magnesium thrice per day. You can also choose to increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as they contain adequate amounts of magnesium. Avoid over dosage of magnesium as well as Metformin as this causes diarrhoea.

6. Teenagers suffering from Type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated with Metformin. Together with regular exercise, teenagers can expect significant loss of excess body fat without worrying about stunted growth and hormonal development.

7. The body’s insulin resistance, which can be caused by MSG or monosodium glutamate, can be moderately equalized by Metformin. MSG is commonly added as flavouring in prepared foods, bouillon cubes, canned soups, frozen dinners, and broths. To save on money and to ensure you are eating healthy, you should choose to just cook your own meals.

8. Not all people suffering diabetes are allowed to use Metformin. Your doctor will not advise you to take this drug if you are suffering from PAD or peripheral arterial disease or any kind of disorder related to blood clotting to avoid increased clot risks.

9. Both Metformin and Glucophage contain the same chemicals. However, there are diabetics who respond more positively with Glucophage. The Glucophage-XR is a time-release version of metformin. This costs about US$100 to $200 per month more than Metformin. This particular version is greatly beneficial for diabetics that are able to successfully control their meals. If you are the type that tends to overeat, this version won’t be able to provide you with any blood sugar control benefits.

10. Go ask your doctor for an increased dosage of Metformin if you are advised to take other medications than insulin and are taking less than 850 milligrams of Metformin thrice per day. You can save thousands of dollars per year when you choose to use Metformin instead of other more expensive medications as they can both provide you with the same blood sugar controlling effects.

 November 21, 2011  No Responses »