About the Post

Author Information

Dangers in Caring for Diabetes

As the global rate of diabetes soars, patients, doctors and medical researchers continue a seemingly never-ending quest to control this debilitating disease.

Worldwide, nearly 10 percent of adults have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In the United States alone, an estimated 8 percent of the population – nearly 26 million Americans – has diabetes. More than six million of those people have no idea they have it. And around the world, another 285 million people have diabetes as developing nations see a rise in obesity and inactivity.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition associated with abnormally high levels of blood sugar. It is broken into two major categories: type 1 (also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes) and type 2 (called adult-onset diabetes). Both come with distinctive struggles and complications.

Type 1 diabetes takes over when the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin. It’s a genetic autoimmune disease that requires patients to take insulin shots to survive.

The type 2 variation generally starts after the pancreas makes an inordinate amount of insulin and the body becomes insulin resistant.

Decades ago, type 2 diabetes was only found in patients age 25 and older, but today an increasing number of teens are being diagnosed. Although genetics also play a role in type 2 diabetes, physicians point to obesity as a leading cause of the disease.

As computer-based workplaces and a propensity toward sedentary lifestyles increase, so does the diabetes epidemic, experts say. By 2050, an estimated 1 in 3 adults could have diabetes, with a bigger jump in the type 2 variation.

With this, experts want everyone on the alert for both type 1 and 2 diabetes symptoms.

Type 1 symptoms include:

• Extreme fatigue and irritability
• Unexplainable weight loss
• Extreme hunger and thirst
• Frequent urination

Type 2 often comes with no symptoms, but some of them can be:

• Frequent infections or cuts that are slow to heal
• Blurred vision
• Tingling and numbness in extremities

In trying to control either type, it is important to seek medical help. Even though there is a considerable amount of controversy surrounding nutritional therapy, most doctors recommend a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat and unhealthy carbohydrates.

Poor food choices can cause a spiral of nerve, kidney and heart damage. Medical professionals also recommend that diabetics and pre-diabetics start a daily and manageable exercise regime.

Dangerous Drug Side Effects

In addition, many diabetics take daily doses of injectable insulin and oral medications to control the disease. Although insulin is generally thought to be used only in the type 1 disease, many type 2 diabetes patients eventually move on to this treatment. Equally, many patients opt for prescription medications to control glucose levels.

However, many of those drugs are known to have severe and sometimes deadly side effects. One such drug, Actos (pioglitazone) has been linked to bladder cancer, heart failure, blindness and weight gain.

Actos, introduced in 1999, works by making the cells more receptive to insulin. Before it was released, the drug’s maker found a strong connection between the drug Actos and bladder cancer and launched a decade-long investigational study.

The first five years of the study found that those taking the drug for more than a year had a 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer. Drug regulators around the world responded by limiting Actos sales. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a bladder cancer warning to the drug’s label.

Actos also causes edema (water-weight swelling) that can lead to congestive heart failure. When this occurs, the body becomes filled with excess water and bodily organs shut down. The drug carries a black-box warning for its link to heart failure.

For many years, the drug Avandia was the best-selling diabetes drug in the world. Then came a 2007 Cleveland Clinic study published by the New England Journal of Medicine that reported Avandia increased the risk of heart attack by patients by 43 percent.

The FDA subsequently adjusted Avandia’s drug labels to reflect those cardiovascular risks, and new labeling must specifying that only people who took Avandia before and cannot control their current blood-sugar levels can take the drug again.

No Cure

Since a diabetes cure isn’t on the horizon, many patients are also turning to alternative treatments, including herbal home remedies and extreme exercise regimens. None have been proven scientifically to cure the disease.

Tags: ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply