More Evidence Ties Obesity to Disability in Older Women – WebMD

Evidence Ties Obesity to Disability in Older Women

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) — Women who are obese as they near retirement age have a higher risk of early death and may find their remaining years blighted by disability, researchers say.

Obese women are three to six times more likely to suffer a disability late in life that will make it difficult for them to get around, with the risk rising with their level of obesity, according to a new study published online Nov. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

A second study in the same journal issue found that being overweight or obese raises your risk of heart attack and heart disease even if you are otherwise healthy.

The number of women aged 85 years and older in the United States is increasing, according to study background information, with 11.6 million women expected to reach 85 by 2050.

Obesity rates also continue to increase, and nearly one-third of U.S. women 75 years and older are obese. This extra weight not only reduces life span, but also can severely harm an older woman’s quality of life.

“For dying and losing the ability to walk, the risks were alarmingly high — over threefold to upwards of over sixfold,” said study co-author Eileen Rillamas-Sun, a staff scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle. “I believe that remaining mobile is very important to most older people, especially since it is useful for retaining one’s independence.”

The new findings aren’t that surprising, but they’re important, one expert noted.

Together, the two studies “verify something that we knew, but give us some more ammunition to craft more programs and pay more attention to women’s body weight and obesity overall,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

“The obesity epidemic isn’t just our kids, and if you are thinking forward we are having this enormous growth as the baby boomers age through society,” he said. “We’re going to have to spend a lot of time encouraging women to achieve a sensible body weight.”

Rillamas-Sun’s study examined the health records of nearly 37,000 older women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term study sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found that about 12 percent of healthy-weight women had become disabled by age 85, requiring a walker or some other assistance for getting around.

By comparison, between 25 percent and 34 percent of obese women were disabled, with incidence rising with the patient’s body mass index (BMI), a measurement of body fat that takes height and weight into account.

Overall, a waist circumference greater than 35 inches was associated with a higher risk of early death, along with new diseases developing during the study period and mobility disability, the researchers said.

One-day diabetes awareness festival attracts hundreds

AURANGABAD: Hundreds of people visited the ‘Madhumeha Anandnagari’ at the St Francis School ground here on Sunday. The event was aimed at creating awareness about diabetes and its complications and also to commemorate the World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Customized diet plans, diabetes management, sugar-free and oil-free cooking and a focus on effective detection of the disease in the early stages remained the crowd pullers at the fair, hosted by Udaan, a voluntary organisation working for the well-being of diabetic children.

The Anandnagari was inaugurated by television actor Anup Soni, along with deputy commissioner of police (zone-II) Arvind Chawria. The duo appealed to the people to take preventive measures before the lifestyle disease starts taking a toll on the health.

Noted chef Archana Atre from Mumbai gave a demo of over 10 oil-free and sugar-free nutritional dishes that could be easily cooked. The recipe books of the same were distributed by Udaan.

Chawria said, “I am a diabetic for about eight years. Initially I was reluctant in accepting it but gradually I brought the required discipline in my lifestyle and diet. Now, having a disciplined schedule makes me feel fitter than any of my non-diabetic colleagues.”

“The aim of the festival is to erase the fear of diabetes from the minds of people and create awareness in a joyful way to lead a healthy life. The focus of the fair is on detection of diabetes as early as possible and proper management for patients. There are stalls providing guidance on every aspect associated with it like a heart kiosk, exercise kiosk, etc,” said diabetologist Archana Sarda.

Sarda added that it was an attempt to spread awareness about the disease, which is fast spreading among the younger population and appealed to both the diabetics as well as non-diabetics to maintain a healthy lifestyle as cases of diabetes has been reported even in six-month-old babies.

Services such as measurement of blood glucose, blood pressure and body fat percentage, estimation of heart attack and stroke risk for diabetics, ECG, eye examination to detect diabetic retinopathy, were kept open at the fair. Street plays, games, tattoo making, bioscope watching, etc, were also arranged for visitors.

To bring awareness about the lifestyle disease, Udaan has conducted essay writing competitions on ‘Role of children and youth to control diabetes’ and ‘My dream – Diabetes-free India’ in about 140 schools, and around 300 students participated in the contest. Actor Soni judged the street plays for college students and awarded the best five winners.

“Often, people don’t realise the severity of diabetes and leave treatment after two or three months of the diagnosis, exposing themselves to various life threatening diseases. Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder, and stressful life together with unhealthy living is a major factor behind the huge diabetic population we have in our country,” Sarda said.

Suffering from Obesity | Dances With Fat

Belly Bump with one of my heroes - Marilyn Wann

Belly Bump with one of my heroes – Marilyn Wann

I decided to repost this blog based on a few conversations I had and saw in the last few days.  I see people talk a lot about how we need to “do something,” and how abusive and exploitative things like The Biggest Loser are justified  because so many people are “suffering from obesity”.  I won’t presume to speak for everyone but I will say that while I sometimes do suffer because I’m obese, I’ve never suffered from obesity.

I’m suffering from living in a society where I’m shamed, stigmatized and humiliated because of the way I look. Where I’m oppressed by people who choose to believe that I could be thin if I tried (even though there’s no evidence for that), and that I am, in fact, obligated to try to be thin because that’s what they want me to do – as if personal responsibility means that I’m personally responsible for doing what they think I should do and looking like they think I should look (though this does not seem to be a two way street as none of these people has ever invited by commentary and suggestions on their life and choices.)

I’m suffering from doctors who have bought into a weight=health paradigm so deeply that they are incapable of giving me appropriate evidence-based healthcare.  I’m not just talking about diagnosing me as fat and giving me a treatment plan of weight loss (which is using a completely unreliable diagnostic and then prescribing a treatment that has the opposite result 95% of the time).  I’m also talking about the two doctors who tried to prescribe me blood pressure medication without taking my blood pressure or looking at my chart to see that it is always 117/70 (which means that taking blood pressure medication would have been dangerous).  I’m talking about a doctor trying to get me to lose weight to treat me for Type 2 Diabetes when I actually had anemia.  I’m talking about a doctor telling me that my strep throat was due to my weight. I’m talking about people who are supposed to be scientists abandoning science and research in a way that strongly resembles the time when the Catholic church told Galileo to sit down and shut up.

I’m suffering from a societal witch hunt where instead of putting me in a river they put me on a scale.  People look at my body and feel comfortable blaming me for everything from global warming to healthcare costs despite a lack of evidence for either. People send me ridiculous hate mail, say nasty things to me at the gym (although making fun of a fat person at the gym is something I will never understand).  People who are drenched in thin privilege try to use that position of privilege to make me feel bad about myself.

I’m suffering from the misinformation campaign that is led by the diet industry, weight loss pharmaceutical industry and surgeons who profit from mutilating people who look like me, none of whom are willing to be honest about the risks or horrible success rates of their interventions long term, and some of whom just don’t seem to care.

I am suffering from living in a society that tells me that the cure for social stigma, shame, humiliation and incompetent healthcare is for me to lose weight, when the truth is that the cure for social stigma is ending social stigma.

What has lessened my suffering is that I now realize that this isn’t my fault – although it becomes my problem. One of the reasons that I choose to pursue a life of social justice work is that nothing makes me feel better than knowing that I am doing what I can to fight this and making some kind of difference – whether it’s in the lives of individuals or in society, or just in my own life.  I deserve better and so does everyone else and I and lots of others are fighting for it and we’re going to win.  But to be clear, we shouldn’t have to.  Nobody should have to fight to be treated with basic human respect.   And that’s what I find so sad – all of this suffering of fat people could end right this second and nobody needs to lose a pound – society just needs to stop trying to shame, stigmatize, humiliate and hate people healthy.  We can work on access to healthy foods, we can work on access to safe movement options that people enjoy, we can work on making sure that people have access to appropriate, evidence-based healthcare.  If we give up being a horribly failed example for making people thin, we could be a successful example for giving people options for health.

Like my blog?  Here’s more of my stuff!

The Book:  Fat: The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Become a member: For just ten bucks a month you can keep this blog ad-free, support the activism work I do, and get deals from cool businesses Click here for details

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Keith Vaz: Diabetes was a real wake-up call

Keith, who is chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, is making sure his teenage children Luke and Anjali are aware of the condition and are tested regularly.

“Diabetes does run in families and if people are aware of that they can make changes to their life and delay the onset,” he says.

It’s not known for sure why people from Asian and African backgrounds are more prone to the condition but it may be due to the different way in which their muscles burn fat. One study concluded the rate among these communities in the UK was “astonishingly high”.

Keith adds: “Awareness is so critical. Our job is to harvest people and send them to their GPs.”

Medication and improvements in his diet mean that although there is no cure, Keith’s diabetes is under control.

“I’ve had to increase my tablets,” he says. “Diabetes will affect my health as I get older. If I don’t look after myself then blindness, liver failure and amputations are all concerns.

“I’m never going to go to a gym but I intend to get an exercise bike for my home.”

For more information about Silver Star visit www.silverstaruk.org

Theresa May r MARTIN SCURR says Type 1 diabetes has dominated life of his …

  • Theresa May has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 56
  • It will ignite attention of anyone who has an interest in this condition
  • Mrs May will have to inject herself with insulin, like my eldest son Ben

By
Martin Scurr

19:57 EST, 28 July 2013


|

02:20 EST, 29 July 2013

Sufferer: As a father I've seen first-hand how Type 1 diabetes has dominated the life of my eldest son, Ben, for the best part of 30 years

Sufferer: As a father I’ve seen first-hand how Type 1 diabetes has dominated the life of my eldest son, Ben, for the best part of 30 years

The news that Home Secretary Theresa May has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 56 will ignite the attention of anyone who has an interest in this condition — especially as it is so rare for someone of her age.

I have several patients with Type 1 diabetes, but as a father I’ve seen first-hand how it has dominated the life of my eldest son, Ben, for the best part of 30 years.

In my 36 years as a GP, I can’t recall a fiftysomething patient who has developed it out of the blue. Doctors occasionally see the onset of Type 1 in teenagers or young adults in their 20s, but later than that is very unusual.

I would imagine someone as organised as the Home Secretary will be able to manage her condition and go on living a relatively normal life. But as I have seen with Ben, even if you are meticulous in your management of Type 1 diabetes, you can only minimise — never completely absolve yourself — of complications.

Mrs May, who had been strongly tipped to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader, admits she often works an 18-hour day. And although long ministerial hours will still be achievable, she will have to ensure that she eats regular sit-down meals.

There can be no erratic snacking on chocolate or crisps for the diabetic.

Like Ben, Mrs May will have to inject herself with insulin. Some people use pumps which infuse a continuous flow of insulin rather than several large shots, but these are not as common as the injections — simply because they are formidably expensive and fairly new.

But no matter how careful you are, mistakes will be made, and we see this with Ben all the time. If he has too little insulin, or too much food and not enough exercise, he can’t go long before his blood sugar can go stormingly high.

The penalty for that is serious complications such as eye and kidney damage and a greatly increased rate of atheroma formation, the process of clogging up of arteries in the heart or brain with cholesterol deposits.

Too much insulin and he may pass out through too low a level of glucose in the blood, a so-called ‘hypo’ (hypoglycaemic attack).

Ben developed diabetes when he was seven, and as a child he would become very aggressive, spitting at us and lashing out before passing out unconscious if we couldn’t get a sugary drink or snack down him in time.

Although Ben manages his diabetes with great care and has led a full life — gaining a history degree from Manchester University and carving out a successful career in TV commercials — he has by no means been immune to complications. The Home Secretary should take heed.

Diabetes is the most common cause of acquired blindness in the western world, and six months ago Ben lost his driving licence because he has a retinopathy — where the retina at the back of the eye becomes damaged.

He has passed out on countless occasions, sometimes on his own on a train or in an airport where, distressingly, onlookers have mistaken him for a drunk. For that reason he wears a medical bracelet to alert people to his condition.

Coping: Like Ben, Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured last month) will have to inject herself with insulin

Coping: Like Ben, Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured last month) will have to inject herself with insulin

This will be something that Mrs May must be worried about. There’s every chance that she might keel over at the despatch box or in a meeting. For this reason, everyone around her — from her personal secretary to her driver — must be up to speed on her condition.

She will want to be independent, yet everyone must be aware of the signs and symptoms of her condition because every now and then a meal will get missed or she will take in too much insulin and she will go off beam.

A diabetic always wants to be independent but, as parents, we had to brief everyone from friends to teachers to skiing instructors about Ben’s condition in case he passed out.

Unfortunately, Ben has also suffered from kidney failure and had a transplant. Now, that kidney has also failed and he is due to go back on to dialysis.

One day in the next year or so, he hopes to have another transplant, this time of a kidney and pancreas, which should cure him of diabetes.

It’s very new technology and I know of no patients who have gone through this operation, but it’s part of the new world of transplanting that offers hope to diabetics everywhere. The tragedy is that he will have to wait for someone else to die before he can be cured.

Type 1 is most commonly called acute juvenile onset diabetes because it is a dramatic disease that suddenly appears and almost universally affects young people. Only last week, a child of only one was diagnosed at my practice.

This is in contrast to Type 2 diabetes, also known as maturity onset diabetes, which, although it is also recognised by the presence of high glucose levels in the bloodstream, is almost a different disease entirely.

We see Type 2 in middle-aged and older people, usually in the context of excess body weight, the problem being a relative rather than an absolute deficiency of the hormone insulin.

But Type 1 diabetes is a medical emergency and an incurable illness that occurs because of the sudden loss of insulin, a  protein hormone that is  produced by nests of cells that are situated in the pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes is a medical emergency
and an incurable illness that occurs because of the sudden loss of
insulin, a  protein hormone that is  produced by nests of cells that are
situated in the pancreas

Insulin is vital for the control of blood glucose levels. Glucose is the most important currency — the pound sterling — of energy in the body. It is the preferred fuel for our heart muscle, it is the only energy source that our brains can use, and insulin is the hormone that controls glucose levels, mobilising it from stores and enabling body tissues to use the glucose at the site needed.

With Type 1 diabetes, quite suddenly, insulin production ceases — usually because the cells making it are rapidly killed off by antibodies or a virus.

Glucose levels then soar and the patient becomes acutely ill within days, with weight loss, thirst, weakness and eventually a state called diabetic ketoacidosis — a derangement of the chemistry of the entire body, with over-breathing, vomiting and eventual loss of consciousness.

Before the Twenties, when insulin was discovered and could be purified (from beef or pig pancreatic tissue) and then injected as a treatment, death was the outcome.

Thankfully, treatment has come a long way since those dark days.

Ben was diagnosed six weeks after he had suffered a bout of chicken pox. Doctors believe that a virus may trigger Type 1 diabetes in someone who has a genetic susceptibility.

We had noticed he had started climbing up to the sink to drink water from the tap as he was suffering from extreme thirst. He was also getting up regularly in the night to urinate.

Colleagues: Home Secretary Theresa May is pictured with Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this month. Mrs May will want to be independent, yet everyone must be aware of the signs and symptoms of her condition

Colleagues: Home Secretary Theresa May is pictured with Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this month. Mrs May will want to be independent, yet everyone must be aware of the signs and symptoms of her condition

These are common symptoms of diabetes but to my shame, I didn’t spot what was happening straight away. At the time, my wife was 38 weeks pregnant with our second son, Cosmo, and I simply thought Ben was being wilful because the new baby was nearly here.

In the end, I took a urine sample which showed his sugar levels were high. So I took a blood sample and to my horror, his blood sugar reading was six times higher than it should have been.

I rang Guy’s Hospital to inform them of my boy’s symptoms and to my astonishment, they asked me to bring him in a couple of days. When I told them he would be dead by then, they admitted him straight away.

There, he was diagnosed with Type 1, and
my wife was admitted with him because she had to learn quickly how to
manage our son’s incurable illness.

Ben checks his blood glucose around four to five times a day – and it’s likely that the Home Secretary will have to do the same

His treatment involves striking a careful balance between food intake and the dose of insulin needed. Diabetics must be particularly watchful over the amount of carbohydrate and starch they consume, as glucose forms the main building bricks of much larger starch molecules.

Insulin is usually injected between two and four times daily, depending on the needs of the individual.

Ben checks his blood glucose around four to five times a day — and it’s likely that the Home Secretary will have to do  the same.

He has to prick his finger and insert a dot of blood into a portable gizmo. It means he can govern carefully what he needs to eat and also calculate the correct insulin dosage to inject into himself at that moment in time.

The Home Secretary will have to get used to this routine and fit it into her already busy schedule. How much energy she has been using a day will need to be taken into consideration. Sitting in Cabinet meetings or an office uses less fuel than dashing about to constituency meetings, going to the gym, or hill walking  on holiday.

The essence of treating a patient with diabetes is to educate them to enable them to self govern and take full responsibility for managing their own condition with rigorous self discipline and meticulous  attention to all details.

Only in this way are future complications minimised and a normal life possible — even for a future possible Prime Minister.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Perhaps Mrs May’s GP would consider offering her a DAFNE course? Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating – I have found it an extremely helpful guide in managing my “late onset” Type 1 [diagnosed as Type 2 initially just like Mrs May’s]. Diagnosed at 46, now 64, I am well, happy and still working [although part time and now in NZ] – I do think diabetes was there in the background for many years and perhaps only became a real problem following several years of overworking and long hours. Otherwise life is normal and insulin regime is a fact of life and best accepted as so.

ExPatLyn
,

Napier, New Zealand,
29/7/2013 23:10

My son was dignosed on 23/2/13 after go missed on the 21 st even though we expressed concerns he refused to test sugars but that’s another story and one that’s being investigated by the GMC as on the 23 rd he was admitted in diabetic KETO acidosis nt a nice condition and very frightening for patient and family members…..GPS need to listen to patients and parents and not stop when they make there mind up…..luckily for us we took him to hospital when we did as he would have been in a coma two hours later…..the blood test showed six times ove the limit for a child that’s a lot….his consultant says the condition was miked as my son does lots of activity so the onset was hidden until days before when his sugars were sky high…..as a paren I blame myself too but. Can’t change it he has diabetes and it could not have stopped it b getting there sooner….m son would not have been so poorly though and for a two pound blood sugar test my son could have been saved lots of pain…..

Sammy D
,

Staffordshire, United Kingdom,
29/7/2013 17:26

I have only three words for all the diabetics (type 1 or 2) out there. GOOGLE DR BERNSTEIN

kelebek
,

Turkey,
29/7/2013 16:48

WOW. you failed your child!! You are a DOCTOR and your son’s diabetes was so badly mismanaged that he has retinopathy and kidney failure? I’m 29, Type 1 since I was 10, and live in permanent fear that I will go blind etc, and had a normal teenage rebellion for a while but do not have any damage as yet. My parents didn’t pressure me, I had normal food. So how the HELL has your son become so damaged without serious failings on your behalf?! I don’t think you’re in any position to write such a stupid article. Glad you’re not my doctor, let alone my DAD!

emelsie
,

exeter,
29/7/2013 15:38

54 years and counting with Type 1, this Dr his son need to realise it is not the end of the world and get on with having a life! It hasn’t stopped me from doing anything, there are thousands, like me, that just get on with it rather than bleating about it!

Maggie
,

UK,
29/7/2013 14:46

My husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 41, nearly 7 years ago and two years after our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 6. His GP thought it couldn’t be T1 and said T2 but consultant said he was Type 1. Its a misconception that they cannot develop it older. The consultant told my husband that the oldest person he had diagnosed recently with T1 was 73!!! Unfortunately we have Type 1 on both sides as my sister has been T1 for 30 years, our daughter now for 9 years, my husband for 7 years and his nephew for 5 years. He also has a cousin with T1. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to keep both of them healthy and unfortunately my daughter also has other health issues which makes it harder but she was lucky to be given an insulin pump two years ago which has made a huge difference to her overall control. Type 1 diabetes is a game of balance every day for the rest of your life and affects all the family involved.

Cat26
,

Glasgow,
29/7/2013 14:42

It always baffles me why diabetes type 1 sufferers would even consider eating anything with sugar in or even anything such as a sugar free juice? Water is sugar free, drink that! Red arrow me as I obviously don’t understand!
– LaughingGravy, Wirral, 29/7/2013 6:51.— Why shouldn’t people with diabetes have as much choice as the rest of us? Variety is the spice of life and children especially want to have something more exciting than water. Not just that but it helps people feel more normal? Also, as far as I’m aware, diabetics need sugar in their diet they just need to be careful about how much.

Charli
,

Cardiff,
29/7/2013 14:33

Like any disease, some have a harder time than others. I sympathize with those who have lost limbs or organs and congratulate those who have not. The difference is certainly not always because one person is more diligent than another. To think so is cruel and ignorant.

SantaFeJack
,

Newport News VA USA,
29/7/2013 14:33

My sister has diabetes and copes fine!

Richard M
,

Stockholm-Expat,
29/7/2013 13:47

Most people think of diabetes Type 1 2 as one condition but they’re no’s no comparison. When my 5yr old son was diagnosed with Type 1 some years ago (no family history) – I was told diabetes is nothing these days!!! However it completely changed our family life – I had needle phobia too but had to overcome it – blood samples were worse for me. Meals, snacks, exercise, illness hypo’s had to be managed as well as looking after the other 3 children one only a few days old. The belief is that many more people carry the gene for Type 1 diabetes than have it but it needs a trigger – in our case a virus, Type 2 diabetes is relatively common in the older age group but can be managed with diet, diet and tablets and in some cases with insulin – but not to be confused with Type 1 diabetes. It’s onset is usually gradual and it’s possible with proper diet and exercise to avoid type 2 diabetes. Mrs May will have to cope with the changes to her life and it’s easier if others know

JF
,

Birmingham, United Kingdom,
29/7/2013 13:24

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

"The Most Serious Health Problem in the U.S. Today is Obesity," as …

“The most serious health problem in the U.S. today is obesity.”
The all-too-familiar sentence started an article about obesity in America
that would fit right at home right now … except it was actually written
60 years ago.

In 1954, LIFE Magazine featured an article titled “The Plague of
Overweight,” in which they followed the journey of a woman named
Dorothy Bradley who struggled with overeating and body-image issues that
many of us can relate to today.

Ben Cosgrove of LIFE wrote in this blog post:

“Some five million Americans,” LIFE wrote [back in 1954], “medically
considered ‘obese,’ weigh at least 20% more than normal and, as a result,
have a mortality rate one-and-a-half times higher than their neighbors….
Another 20 million Americans are classed by doctors and insurance men
as overweight (10% above normal) and are drastically prone to diabetes,
gallstones, hernia, kidney and bladder impairments and complications
during surgery and pregnancy.”

Today the numbers cited by LIFE have ballooned to even more appalling
proportions: according to the CDC, “more than a third of U.S. adults
(35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents
aged 2 – 19 years are obese.”

But perhaps the most astonishing and troubling statistic about obesity
in the USA relates to the speed with which this affliction has taken
hold: for example, in 2010 (again according to the CDC), “there were
12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an
obesity prevalence of 30% or more.” Feel free to read that again — and
try to imagine the toll those millions upon millions of extra pounds
will have on the health of those men, women and children, and on the
nation’s economy.

Read the rest over at LIFE: Link

Type 2 Diabetes More Common Among Low-Income Families




Diabetes Finger Blood Test


CREDIT: Jim Delillo | Dreamstime


Being born into a low-income family may mean worse health later in life. Research has shown that those with low incomes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than their richer peers, but the reason for this link has remained unclear.

Now, a new study finds that inflammation may be the key behind this connection, and that genetics plays a role.

“We’ve shown … there might be a link going from socioeconomic status to inflammation, through gene regulation, and that finally leads to increased risk of diabetes,” said lead author Silvia Stringhini, of the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Type 2 diabetes, which tends to develop in adults rather than children, occurs when body cells stop responding to insulin and become unable to use sugar in the blood.

The condition has been linked to excess weight and physical inactivity, but studies have shown that people who experienced socioeconomic adversity during their childhood tended to have a higher risk of developing this disease later in life, even when they didn’t suffer from obesity and an unhealthy diet. Stringhini and her team wanted to determine why  childhood poverty would have such a far-reaching effect.

The researchers used data from the Whitehall II study, which tracked clinical and social information from more than 10,000 people in London between 1991 and 2009. Every six years, all participants took an oral glucose test, and the researchers tracked which people developed Type 2 diabetes. They also took blood samples to measure key inflammatory proteins in the blood. To gather socioeconomic data, the researchers asked participants their job title, how much education they had and their father’s occupation. [How Inflammation Affects Your Health]

Participants who had overall low socioeconomic scores were almost twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes over the course of the study than those whose scores were high. Furthermore, people whose life trajectories either started or ended in a lower class had an increased risk of developing diabetes as adults.

While this finding may not be immediately surprising, Stringhini pointed out that typical diabetes risk factors, such as being overweight, physically inactive and eating poorly “explain about half of the socioeconomic status differences in the Type 2 diabetes,” she said.

The other half was tied to inflammation, regardless of a person’s weight or physical activity. People who had more disadvantaged lives overall had chronically higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood.

While obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and poor diet certainly contribute to chronic inflammation, the study points out that these lifestyle factors aren’t the only culprits.

“The stress related to financial adversity — that of living in poor, unsafe and polluted neighborhoods, experiencing more stressful life events, or experiencing abuse and violence — [may contribute to] an exacerbated inflammatory responses in adult life,” Stringhini said.

This discovery may point to new approaches to tackling the growing problem of Type 2 diabetes. “While this does not mean that we should stop trying to improve lifestyle behaviors in the most disadvantaged sections of society, we might try to recommend medications targeting directly inflammation,” Stringhini said.

Other experts are not so sure. “Type 2 diabetes is a very complex disease,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein University in New York.

“There is no question that it is an inflammation-based disease,” Zonszein said. But, he cautioned that the analysis of the data in the new study was not definitive enough to conclude that inflammation was a cause of Type 2 diabetes. “There is an interrelationship, but I don’t believe it’s a cause-and-effect relationship.”

More research is needed to determine the role of inflammation in Type 2 diabetes, he said.

The study is published today (July 2) in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook  Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Living with Type 1 diabetes, local mom finds support through Diabetes Sisters

Anna Norton’s life with diabetes began the summer between high school graduation and college.

Norton, who lived in south Florida at the time, was working as a camp counselor, drinking lots of water and visiting the bathroom, as you’d expect. She also was losing weight – 30 pounds in less than three months. And after a favorite dinner with her family at home, she became very sick.

After trips to the doctor and the emergency room, Norton finally got her diagnosis on a summer day in 1993: Type 1 diabetes. About 5 percent to 10 percent of people with diabetes have this form. Scientists don’t know what causes the autoimmune disease, but they think genetic and environmental factors, even viruses, could be involved.

And that journey to understood the diagnosis and figure out how she could live with it brought her to Diabetes Sisters, a Durham-based nonprofit that has followers from around the world. It aims to connect women with diabetes – either Type 1 or Type 2 – so they can share information, seek advice and find support.

“This is something that I’ve been waiting for since 1993,” said Norton, who now lives in Cary. “I had given up on the feeling sorry for myself, but this really solidified it.”

Norton’s understanding of the disease and acceptance of it took some wrong turns. She left the hospital in 1993 ill-prepared for what lay ahead.

“One doctor said, ‘I just want to let you know, you’ll never have kids,'” Norton remembers.

She made it through college, but was in a funk by the time she got to graduate school. For 18 months, she didn’t take her insulin shots regularly and landed in the hospital. There, a doctor told her she had a decision to make – whether she wanted to live or die.

“He said to me, “your life is not over because of this,'” she said. “He said, ‘this is not your life sentence.'”

Norton got back on track. She’s started using an insulin pump and now also uses a continuous glucose monitor.

And in 2007, she and her husband welcome their son, now a healthy, happy preschooler. Norton enjoyed a complication-free pregnancy.

Norton hooked up with Diabetes Sisters in 2011 after seeing a pamphlet for the group at her doctor’s office a year before. She attended the group’s conference and never looked back. Last year, Brandi Barnes, another local mom and Diabetes Sisters founder, who I featured last year, offered her the job of operations manager. She took it.

Diabetes Sisters offers online forums, regular meet-ups and more across the country. Norton finds both support and an opportunity to help other women with diabetes.

“It’s nice to be able to ask, but it’s really nice to be able to answer,” she said.

Now, the group is gearing up for its fourth annual conference at the downtown Raleigh Sheraton from May 3 to May 5. The weekend includes a variety of workshops and discussions about living with diabetes – everything from food and exercise tips to emotional issues to a discussion about eating disorders and diabetes. There’s also plenty of time for women to socialize.

In parallel to the conference, there are programs for husbands, boyfriends and partners of women with diabetes where they talk about marriage and relationships, how to support their spouses and other topics.

As part of the conference, Diabetes Sisters will host the 2013 orange:will Diabetes Awareness Walk on May 4. Wear orange for the one-mile walk through downtown Raleigh, which will raise money for Diabetes programs and services.

Watch my video interview to hear more from Norton.

“Life is better,” she said.

Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.

Obesity Reduces Quality of Life in Boys | Psych Central News

Obesity Reduces Quality of Life in BoysFor boys, being overweight or obese significantly lowers their quality of life compared to healthy weight peers.  Interestingly, these results were not found in girls.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, also showed that quality of life (QOL) scores improved for children of either sex whose weight status changed from overweight/obese to normal.

The research involved more than 2,000 Australian school children who were about 12 years old at the start of the study in 2004-2005. The researchers followed up with the children after five years. 

The participants then answered a questionnaire designed to measure whether being obese (also known as  adiposity) influenced their quality of life at age 17 or 18.

“Adiposity in boys was associated with poorer quality of life during adolescence. This association was not observed among girls.

“In both boys and girls, though, persistent overweight or obesity was related to poorer physical functioning after the five years. In contrast, weight loss was associated with improved quality of life during adolescence,” said Bamini Gopinath, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The questionnaire measured the children’s physical and psychosocial health. It also calculated a combined total quality of life score. The psychosocial health summary score reflected how well the teens were functioning emotionally and socially.

The study revealed that both males and females who were obese at the start of the study and who later reduced to a normal weight had far better physical functioning scores than those who remained obese after five years. These physical functioning scores measured one aspect of the overall quality of life score.

“The findings suggest that an unhealthy weight status and excess body fat could negatively impact the mental and physical wellbeing of adolescents, particularly boys,” said Gopinath.

He noted that the study highlights the value of looking at the quality of life among obese teens in both clinical practice and in research studies. 

He also added that “obesity prevention and treatment efforts [ought] to address the broad spectrum of psychosocial implications of being obese as a teenager.”

Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, noted that the differences in quality of life and physical functioning between obese and normal weight teens has not been carefully done before.

“The fact that QOL improved with improvement in weight over time is also important,” said Cheskin. He added that parents, health care providers and teenagers need to understand the far-reaching effects that being overweight can have on a teen’s enjoyment of life.

Source:  Center for Advancing Health

 

Obese boy on scale photo by shutterstock.

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Asian plants may offer remedy for diabetes

London: Two plants from South East Asia may have anti-diabetic properties and could help tackle obesity as well, believe British researchers.

A team of researchers at the University of Greenwich plans to investigate Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata whose extracts could yield active ingredients for a remedy to diabetes which exists in two forms – Type 1 and Type 2.

The former normally affects children, while type 2, which is most common in adults, (often diagnosed later in life) can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss to some extent.

The group had previously hit upon a constituent called kaempferol 3-O-rutinosidehe from the extracts of one of the plants which was proven to be eight times more potent than the standard anti-diabetic drug acarbose.

 

The researchers have also identified anti-oxidant properties of the plants which aids in diabetes treatment.

“Our other most interesting finding is that many of the active ingredients from the Cassia auriculata plant work through a process called `synergism` — in other words, they work together to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects,” says Dr Solomon Habtemariam of the research team.

IANS