Saturday, December 30, 2006

PCD Europe

Primary Care Diabetes EUROPE (PCD Europe)

PCD Europe ( exists to provide a focal point for primary care clinicians and their patients. Its purpose is to promote high standards of care throughout Europe. Emphasis is placed on incorporating evidence based medicine into daily practice as well as promoting diabetes education and research in primary care.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Diabetes News Links


Reducing The Risk Of Diabetes

Unlocking The Secrets Of Slowly Digestible Starch


Fruit Yogurt Could Play An Important Role In Diabetes Management


Yogurt enriched with fruit or made from soy could play an important dietary role for people living with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, suggests new findings by University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers.
Led by Kalidas Shetty, the UMass Amherst scientists screened extracts from a sampling of dairy and soy yogurts for properties that could help keep diabetes and hypertension in check, such as the activity level of enzymes that help moderate blood glucose levels. The researchers found that fruit-enriched yogurts-especially those made with blueberries or made from soy-contain active natural compounds that may curb some aspects of diabetes, the researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Food Biochemistry.............Continued ONLINE

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Welcome to DiabetesHealthOnline

Recommended reading on what you need to know about diabetes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006




For journalist Amy Tenderich, being diagnosed with diabetes changed her life -- twice. The news itself transformed the way she regarded everyday things like meals and exercise. But when she sought information on how others cope with the disease, how people interpret new research and try new therapies, she became frustrated. So she created her own resource -- -- and in its short existence, her work has propelled her to the forefront of an online community of diabetics, healthcare experts, and researchers.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Barry J. Goldstein, MD, PhD   

The Growing Epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a progressive metabolic disease that is becoming increasingly common in the United States. The number of Americans with type 2 diabetes more than doubled from 1980 to 2004.[1] According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), approximately 20.8 million children and adults in the United States — 7% of the population — have diabetes. Although an estimated 14.6 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, approximately 6.2 million are unaware that they have the disease.[2] The potential causes of this growing epidemic include an aging population, lifestyle changes, limited physical activity, obesity, and high caloric intake. Type 2 diabetes is a costly healthcare burden and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In terms of medical expenditures and lost productivity, the cost of type 2 diabetes was estimated to be about $132 billion in 2002.[3]

Insulin resistance accounts for more than 90% of all type 2 diabetes cases.[4] The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimated that one third of the US population between the ages of 40 and 74 years is insulin-resistant.[5] Insulin resistance is at the core of the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome and leads not only to insulin-stimulated glucose uptake with glucose intolerance or frank diabetes, but also to high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), high blood pressure, and increased cardiovascular risk.[6] Elevated blood glucose levels are diagnostic of type 2 diabetes. Clinical studies have demonstrated that diabetes itself is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease and micro- and macrovascular complications.[7-9]

Obesity, a growing epidemic in both adults and children, is a metabolic abnormality that is highly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. The NHANES data indicated that the prevalence of obesity is also on the rise. In 2003 and 2004, 17.1% of US children and adolescents were overweight.[10] These data indicated that the age-adjusted prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults has increased from a level of 23% in NHANES III to a new level of approximately 32%.[11] These high incidences of overweight among children and obesity among adults remain a major public health concern, because they can lead to subsequent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A recent study showed that individuals with onset of diabetes in youth (especially at younger than 20 years of age) had a 3-fold higher death rate than nondiabetic participants, compared with a 1.4-fold increased rate in individuals with onset of diabetes occurring at an older age.[12]

Pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes: A Dual-Defect Disease

Type 2 diabetes is a dual-defect disease characterized by insulin resistance and impaired beta-cell function. Glucose derived from dietary carbohydrate and hepatic glucose production is tightly regulated by insulin. Type 2 diabetes results from an imbalance between insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion.[13] In the diabetic condition, glucose production fails to be adequately regulated by insulin, leading to hepatic glucose overproduction and diminished glucose uptake by muscle tissue. In addition, accelerated gastric emptying and excessive lipolysis in adipose tissue also contribute to developing type 2 diabetes.[13] Over time, pancreatic beta cells fail to maintain their high rate of insulin secretion, leading to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and overt type 2 diabetes.[13] Various clinical syndromes are associated with insulin resistance, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, essential hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, certain types of cancer, and sleep apnea.

Treatment Goals and Options for Type 2 Diabetes

Glycemic control remains fundamental to treating diabetes. The UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) demonstrated that intensive glycemic control with antidiabetes drugs reduces microvascular complications.[8] The availability of sensitive and inexpensive home glucose monitors has made it possible for patients with type 2 diabetes to monitor long-term glycemic control. Diabetes treatment guidelines recommend vigorously lowering glucose levels to attain near-normal glycemia in order to reduce micro- and macrovascular complications. The most recent recommendations of the ADA suggest that although the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) goal for patients with all forms of diabetes is < 7%, the goal for an individual patient is an A1C as close to normal (< 6%) as possible, because this level can be safely achieved without significant hypoglycemia.[14] The American College of Endocrinology recommends a similar A1C goal of ≤ 6.5%.[15,16]

Patients with type 2 diabetes have various treatment options available to control their glucose levels. In addition to therapeutic lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise, several classes of medications with different mechanisms of action are currently available. Advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of diabetes, identification of the targets of antidiabetes medications, and pivotal clinical trials have all contributed to the development of antidiabetes treatment strategies — both monotherapy and combination therapy.[17-20]

The goal of pharmacotherapy is to control hyperglycemia and delay the comorbidities that are associated with diabetes. For type 2 diabetes, drugs that increase circulating insulin levels or decrease insulin resistance are used. Important considerations include the additional effects of medications on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk, and safety and tolerability issues. The following drugs effectively control glucose levels by differing mechanisms of action.[21]

Sulfonylureas: Sulfonylureas (glipizide, glyburide, glimepiride) reduce glucose levels by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas. However, they tend to cause hypoglycemia and can become less effective over time.[22]

Meglitinides: Meglitinides (nateglinide, repaglinide) are insulin secretagogues and act by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas. They have a short half-life and restore insulin levels following meals. However, compliance is an issue because they must be taken 3 times a day with main meals.

Biguanide: Biguanide (metformin) primarily acts by inhibiting hepatic glucose production and controlling glucose levels. Although it tends to cause less weight gain, gastrointestinal side effects may be significant. Additionally, this agent may not be effective in the long-term control of this chronic disease state.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (acarbose, miglitol) delay the postprandial digestion of complex carbohydrates and thus inhibit postprandial hyperglycemia. These agents are associated with severe gastrointestinal side effects and are limited by their relatively weak efficacy in lowering A1C levels.

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs): TZDs (rosiglitazone, pioglitazone) bind and activate peroxisome proliferator-activating receptor-gamma, thereby improving insulin sensitivity and reducing hepatic glucose levels. Additionally, these agents have been shown to improve estimates of beta-cell function and provide sustained glycemic control. Unlike sulfonylureas, TZDs do not cause hypoglycemia or stimulate insulin release. However, TZDs may cause fluid retention and weight gain.

Combinations: A variety of combination therapies are used to treat type 2 diabetes with 2 agents with complementary mechanisms of action. Many of these combinations have demonstrated clinical success by improving glycemic control to recommended goals while offering better tolerability profiles, in many cases due to a reduced dose of 1 or both agents. Sulfonylureas have been used in combination with insulin-sensitizing medications, including metformin and TZDs, and have demonstrated significantly improved glycemic control.[8,23] TZDs, such as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, in combination with metformin have been shown to improve glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and beta-cell function.[24,25]

Insulin: Insulin is required for the management of type 1 diabetes and in many patients at the more advanced stages of type 2 diabetes. Insulin is administered in long-acting (basal), short-acting (mealtime), and premix (long- and short-acting) formulations. Relatively peakless long-acting recombinant insulin analogs have been helpful in restoring basal insulin needs (glargine, detemir). New forms of rapid-acting insulin — called insulin analogs (lispro, aspart, glulisine) — have a faster onset and shorter duration of action than regular insulin. They are used to lower mealtime glucose excursions. Inhaled insulin, which only contains rapid-acting human insulin, is also available. This is also used for mealtime glucose control and is taken before a meal.

Incretin mimetics and dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-IV inhibitors: Incretins, including glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1, are hormones secreted in the gut in response to the absorption of glucose and they have multiple glycoregulatory actions. GLP-1 levels are reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes. Exenatide, an agent that mimics the effects of naturally occurring GLP-1, has been proven effective in improving glucose control by restoring the impaired glucose-dependent insulin secretion by the islet beta cells and suppressing islet alpha-cell glucagon secretion, 2 effects that contribute to hyperglycemia in diabetes. Exenatide also slows gastric emptying, leading to a better match between food absorption and insulin secretion, which leads to improved postprandial glucose control. Exenatide administration is associated with moderate weight reduction. Side effects include nausea, especially during the first week or two of use. The drug is administered via injection twice daily, and it is costly. Longer-acting GLP-1 agonists are in development and may provide an improvement over exenatide because they would only need to be injected once daily or weekly.

Another approach to enhance the action of GLP-1 in the body, currently under US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review, is via the DPP-IV inhibitors. DPP-IV is the enzyme responsible for the degradation of GLP-1 in the bloodstream, and blocking the action of DPP-IV significantly prolongs the blood levels of this incretin. Levels of another incretin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, are also enhanced when DPP-IV is inhibited. Two new oral medications, vildagliptin and sitagliptin, have shown similar glycemic benefits as exenatide via beta-cell-stimulated insulin secretion, islet alpha-cell glucagon suppression, and slowing of gastric emptying. Unfortunately, these agents have not shown a significant effect on weight reduction.

What Does the Future Hold?

Perhaps the most important goal in the management of diabetes is preventing long-term complications. One approach is the primary prevention of diabetes altogether. To that end, a number of prevention studies have shown that oral antidiabetic agents or lifestyle interventions can significantly reduce the progression of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) to overt diabetes. Other studies have shown reduced primary or secondary cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes who were using various interventions, including statins, antihypertensives, and TZDs.[26] In patients with established cardiovascular disease, pioglitazone showed some improvement of secondary cardiovascular endpoints in the Prospective Pioglitazone Clinical Trial In Macrovascular Events Study, but outcomes data in patients treated at earlier stages of the development of atherosclerosis are lacking. Due to increasing evidence that the prevention of diabetes and its complications may ultimately be a therapeutic possibility, several large-scale studies are under way that will help establish the best clinical approach to this goal. Clinical outcomes include the impact of intensive glycemic control on progression to diabetes, the benefits of early intervention, reduction of cardiovascular complications, and the improvement of beta-cell function.

The Diabetes Reduction with Ramipril and Rosiglitazone Medication (DREAM) study is designed to determine whether rosiglitazone and/or ramipril can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those who have IGT and/or IFG who are at high risk of developing diabetes.[27] The Nateglinide and Valsartan in Impaired Glucose Tolerance Outcomes Research (NAVIGATOR) study is assessing the effect of valsartan and short-acting nateglinide in prediabetes patients.[28] The Actos Now for Prevention of Diabetes (ACT NOW) trial is evaluating the effect of pioglitazone in subjects with IGT and metabolic syndrome for improvement in insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, body composition, and cardiovascular risk factors.[29] The A Diabetes Outcome Progression Trial (ADOPT) is designed to provide data on the differentiating effects of rosiglitazone, glyburide, and metformin on glycemic control, beta-cell function, and macrovascular disease risk.[30] These large-scale clinical trials may have a significant impact when their findings are reported over the next several years.


Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem in the United States. Consequently, the incidence of diabetes complications and cardiovascular diseases is also increasing and has a negative impact on public health and the economy. Therefore, it is important to control the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Younger people are especially at risk for the long-term complications of diabetes when they acquire the disease at an early age. Glycemic control is one of the most important risk factors to contain the progression of type 2 diabetes and its associated microvascular complications, and glucose itself is likely to play a key role in macrovascular disease as well. In addition to therapeutic lifestyle changes, several pharmacologic options are available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Antidiabetes drugs effectively control glucose levels. Intensive glycemic control may be shown to help delay the progression of type 2 diabetes as well as to offer additional benefits, such as improved beta-cell function. Ultimately, we anticipate that type 2 diabetes and its complications will be effectively managed with a comprehensive treatment strategy that includes therapeutic lifestyle modifications and pharmacologic therapy aimed at glycemic control as well as reduction in cardiovascular risk.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Increased Statin Dose Can Benefit Diabetics With Heart Disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) May 26 - Treating diabetics who have clinical signs of coronary heart disease with a high dose of atorvastatin (80 mg daily), rather than the normal dose of 10 mg daily, can lower the rate of major cardiovascular events by 25%, according to a report in the June issue of Diabetes Care.
In the main analysis of data from the Treating to New Targets (TNT) study, increasing the atorvastatin dose was shown to provide significant clinical benefits for patients with stable coronary heart disease. The focus of this subanalysis, conducted by Dr. James Shepherd of the University of Glasgow and colleagues, was to determine if this benefit applied to patients with heart disease and diabetes as well.
The study involved 1501 patients with baseline LDL-C levels of less than 130 mg/dL who were randomized to atorvastatin at a dose of 10 or 80 mg per day and followed for a median of 4.9 years. The primary endpoint was the time to a first major cardiovascular event, including death from heart disease, non-fatal MI, resuscitated cardiac arrest or stroke.
The final LDL-C levels reached in the 10- and 80-mg atorvastatin groups were 98.6 and 77.0 mg/dL, respectively.
The primary event rate in the higher dose atorvastatin group was 13.8%, significantly lower than the 17.9% rate noted in the lower dose group (p = 0.026). In addition, the higher dose was also linked to a delay in the occurrence of cerebrovascular events and any cardiovascular event.
Side effects were similar in both groups and no persistent elevations in liver enzymes were noted, the report indicates.
"Pending a definitive trial, these data suggest that the use of high-dose statin to achieve an LDL cholesterol level considerably lower than 100 mg/dL may be appropriate for patients with diabetes and coronary heart disease, irrespective of their initial LDL cholesterol level, age, duration of diabetes, or glycemic control," the authors conclude.
Diabetes Care 2006.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Novel Type 2 Diabetes Screening Program Helps Identify at-Risk Youth

Feb. 27, 2006 (Reno, Nevada) A new screening checklist may help identify children at risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a new study presented here at the annual meeting of the American College of Preventive Medicine. The checklist combined elevated body mass index (BMI) with other traditional risk factors, such as race/ethnicity, family history of type 2 diabetes, acanthosis nigrans, and hypertension."Our goal was to identify children ages 10 to 18 with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or metabolic syndrome, and to provide an intensive family-based healthy lifestyle program for children diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes," said Elizabeth Tilson, MD, MPH, medical director of Community Care of Wake/Johnston Counties, North Carolina, a quality improvement program for Medicaid patients. Implementing the program required a collaborative community effort, involving private practitioners, the local health department, medical society, hospital, YMCA, and other agencies. Dr. Tilson and colleagues developed a screening checklist tool based on the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Diabetes Association guidelines with some modifications. Participating physicians were to screen all children aged 10 to 18 years for elevated BMI. Children with a BMI higher than the 85th percentile were assessed for the risk factors of race/ethnicity, family history of type 2 diabetes, acanthosis nigrans, and hypertension (defined as systolic blood pressure higher than the 90th percentile for age and height). If a child had one or more risk factors present in addition to a BMI higher than the 85th percentile, he or she was referred for a fasting blood glucose test and an oral glucose tolerance test. "Any child with a BMI higher than the 95th percentile was referred for a fasting blood glucose and a glucose tolerance test, even if no other risk factors were present because a BMI in this percentile is a strong risk factor for prediabetes or diabetes, Dr. Tilson said.A total of 89 physicians in 37 different practices used the new screening tool between July 2004 and December 2005. They referred a total of 747 children aged 10 to 18 years for laboratory tests during this 18-month period. At the start of the program, physicians referred fewer than 10 at-risk children per month for laboratory testing. By June 2005, however, physicians were referring about 50 children per month. Of the 747 children referred, 606 (81%) received fasting blood glucose and glucose tolerance tests. Considering the logistics of obtaining these tests in children, Dr. Tilson commented, "We were really excited about this. We thought 81% showed that the program was quite effective."Of the children who received laboratory tests, 272 (45%) had abnormal results. A majority of those children met criteria for metabolic syndrome with 3 or more factors present, such as elevated systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein levels, and impaired fasting blood glucose. Three children were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (defined as a fasting blood glucose level higher than 126 mg/dL). "Of the kids that had abnormal lab results, keep in mind that the mean age of these children was 12. We are really dealing with a syndrome that used to only be seen in adults," Dr. Tilson stressed during her presentation.Children diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes underwent a 12-week lifestyle intervention with their families, including educational classes and exercise coordinated with the YMCA and other organizations.Dr. Tilson identified several barriers to screening in private practice. "One barrier is actually parent refusal," she told Medscape. "Some parents don't want to acknowledge that their child is overweight or they aren't interested in any lifestyle interventions." She also cited time pressure on physicians. "The screening tool we have put together is to make [screening] as easy as possible in a busy clinic," Dr. Tilson said.Dr. Tilson added that physicians may not be identifying children at moderate risk for diabetes. "Physicians see so many kids that have BMIs off the chart greater than the 95th percentile so when we see kids with BMIs between the 85th and 95th percentile, we've been desensitized to referring them," she told Medscape.Commenting on Dr. Tilson's presentation, Neal Kohatsu, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, told Medscape, "The screening program is a thoughtful integration of medicine and public health. It involved working with other community constituencies to help identify populations at risk, so it was novel in that regard." He added, "I definitely think that this program could apply to many other settings where underserved children and minority populations are targeted. [The study results] would be useful information in developing a community-based diabetes screening program."The study was independently funded. The authors report no pertinent financial disclosures.Preventive Medicine 2006: Session 24 Submitted Abstracts Session. Presented February 24, 2006.Reviewed by Peggy Keen, PhD, FNP