Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dentists May Be Able To Determine If You Have Diabetes

According to an article on diabetes and dentistry, you may not know it, but your mouth can tell doctors if your body is unhealthy. Dentists are often the first to see if you're at an elevated risk of type two diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Ruth Cauthen of Ghent Family Dentistry helped 61-year-old Ronald Branch with his health and his job. He was struggling with controlling his blood sugar for two years, and his primary care physician was about to put him on insulin. Doctor Cauthen knew she could help.

She diagnosed him with periodontal disease, a serious bacteria infection of the mouth. Combined with his type two diabetes, it was life threatening, and could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. Cauthen pulled 14 of Ronald's teeth and got the periodontal disease under control. An infection can wreak havoc on diabetics. Once the infection was gone, Ronald's blood sugar improved.

Dr. Sheila Garris is hoping for more success stories like this. She recently attended a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona with diabetes experts and dentists. They're leading the way for dentists and doctors to work closer together helping diagnose periodontal disease and diabetes. Dr. Garris said, "Dentists may be the first people to identify diabetes by identifying periodontal disease and primary care may be the first ones to recognize periodontal disease, and they're going to need the help of the dentists to help control the diabetes."

Dr. Garris says periodental disease doesn't mean you always have diabetes but it is an indicator along with family history and obesity. If you have been diagnosed periodontal disease, you should also set up an appointment with your primary care physician to go over any other possible health problems.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Study May Set New Bar for Gestational Diabetes

According to a recent article on gestational diabetes, pregnant women with high blood sugar levels may be at risk for some of the same problems faced by women with gestational diabetes -- the risk of a Caesarean delivery and a big baby who might have health problems down the road, researchers said.

They said the seven-year international study, presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting in Chicago, may spark a new look at where to draw the line for diagnosing a woman with gestational diabetes. The condition -- in which a woman who has never had diabetes loses her ability to use insulin properly during pregnancy -- affects about 4 percent of all pregnant women. In the United States, there are about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes each year.
Treatment usually consists of diet and exercise. If left untreated, the mother can transfer extra blood sugar to the fetus, causing the fetus' pancreas to make extra insulin to handle the overload of sugar. This extra energy can produce large babies that may have trouble breathing at birth and could become obese as a child and develop diabetes in adulthood.

The study, led by Dr. Boyd Metzger of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, involved 23,325 women at 15 centers in nine countries who were tracked during pregnancy. What Metzger and colleagues found is that the higher a woman's blood glucose got, the more likely the child was to be large, to be delivered by Caesarean section, to have low blood glucose needing treatment and to have high levels of insulin. "We found that some problems occurred even in ranges previously considered within the normal range for pregnant women," Metzger said in a statement.

He said it is likely that the level of a mother's blood glucose used to diagnose gestational diabetes will be lowered based on the study's findings. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

World Waking up to Diabetes Crisis

According to an article in the UK's Telegraph, diabetes is expected to soar in developing countries over next 20 years.

There are the obvious opportunities for the insulin producers, but as diabetes can lead to blindness, heart disease, strokes and amputations, a wider group of drug makers could be involved.

Diabetes will this year kill as many people around the world as Aids, prompting scientists to call the fast-growing disease the greatest epidemic of current times.

Signs that developing countries are preparing to put some of their stretched budgets into fighting diabetes is not just good news for their people. It could create an opportunity for the drug industry. Not only will there be a large growth of diabetes sufferers in rich countries, where patients can afford the latest treatments, but the explosion of diabetes in poor countries creates an opportunity for Big Pharma to enter new markets where prices are low but volumes large.

Lars Rebien Sorensen, chief executive of Novo Nordisk, the world's largest maker of insulin, said: "Diabetes is growing fastest in Africa, Asia and Latin America. "At the same time we are seeing pressure on the US healthcare system, where there could be price controls. That is going to put pressure on global growth."

There are also opportunities to develop low-cost blood sugar monitors and even solar-powered fridges to store insulin.

The world is on the cusp of recognising the crisis and funds such as the foundation set up by former US President Bill Clinton are beginning to show an interest in creating a global fund to pay for diabetes medicines, in the same way that a fund was established for malaria, tuberculosis and Aids medicines.

One of the world's most eminent scientists working on diabetes, Paul Zimmet of Australia, told the gathering in Nairobi: "There are competing conflicts - HIV, malaria, earthquakes, Sars, climate change and water shortages. But diabetes is one of the greatest epidemics in world history."

If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may be able to get your meter and testing supplies for free. Medicare and most private insurance companies pay for these products. For more information, please visit http://www.freedomed.com.