March 24, 2011

Less Than Stellar Results From Gastric Banding

I had a different post ready for today, but it is not April Fools day yet, and I almost got sucked in by some bad information that was both misleading and hyping a poor product. Talk about following a gut instinct. I can only say this is one time I was very happy I decided to do more research. When I get past my anger about these people, I may write something about this, but I cannot see giving them any recognition or space in my blog.

Therefore I decided to do a short blog about a valid study done before the turn of the century that may not be representative of today's results.  Gastric banding is done by may obese people with diabetes to assist them in weight loss.  I know that the bariatric surgeons are less than happy that this study has been brought back, but people need to be informed about the errors of the past.

The same study has two different articles about the study done in Belgium between 1994 and the end of 1997. It also has comments about the improvements since, but none of this is backed by more recent studies. Just a way of crying foul when some little truth is exposed that might hurt some retirement funds.

I agree that the study was small and may not have been done by today's standards, but who is to know how the agenda would drive a study today. I agree that I have an agenda against the way bariatric surgery is being promoted today and the many facts that are being carefully sidestepped in the name of success and not scaring people away.

Read the articles about the same study here and here.

March 22, 2011

Are you really prepared if disaster strikes?

With many of our thoughts and sympathies with the people of Japan, I am seeing a lot of blogs about disaster preparedness plans and having one. I think this is a good thing to have regardless of where you live, or what might happen. What ever you do, it is always good to be prepared.

Comment: Everyone talks the talk, but do they really walk the walk. Everyone seems to have a plan, but at best they are incomplete. Nothing is mentioned about replenishing perishable insulin or rotating oldest medications out and fresh in. Even water needs to be refreshed if stored in plastic.  Make sure that you have extra batteries for meters, flashlights, and other equipment.  If you have other supplies that expire with age, make sure they are rotated out and used and replace with fresh.

Another idea missing from most plans is where is this emergency supply kit to be stored. And think about whether you can get to it in an emergency and before you leave. Insulin requires refrigeration and most kits are probably not stored in the refrigerator. If you are on oral medications, then you may be one step ahead of others. What ever you decide, do not put something together and then forget about it. If any of your medications require refrigeration, you may be locked as to where you store your emergency kit. Have a year-round plan to update medications and not let them expire.

These are just some thoughts that crossed my mind while reading many of the plans.
I am not even saying that what I wrote almost seven months ago is always the best, but it may be worth rereading. The link is here.

March 20, 2011

Exercise – The Key to Managing Diabetes

I have said this before and will say it again – exercise. I have learned a few morsels to this in the last few years. Some have even told me to get lost as they are not medically able to exercise. Oh, really. A neighbor just reminded me of how false this is, except for a person that is a quadriplegic and others having some types of back injuries. Even another with a prosthetic limb said exercise is encouraged.

A neighbor is confined to a wheelchair with Type 2 diabetes and still exercises. He works very hard lifting five and ten pound or higher weights and once the snow is gone, I will see him out wheeling himself around several blocks in his wheelchair. He lost the use of his legs in an auto accident several years ago and has worked very diligently to build his muscles in his arms and body. He had an operation on one leg this winter and doctors are now hopeful that he may regain partial use of his left leg.

He has talked about this with me and he hopes that his right leg will be operated on next winter, and is hoping that the new procedure will give him full use. He did qualify for a powered chair, and has one for longer trips to the grocery store and other places, but he seldom uses it as he wants the exercise. I have seen him twice this winter and the second time he was standing on his left leg. Even that was an effort, but he wanted to show me the progress. The leg is still very stiff and it is difficult to stand on for lengthy periods, but he is working the leg and has a therapist in three days a week working with him.

So for my more sedentary friends, exercise generally is possible and for many people will require a doctors permission and developing a regimen with the doctors approval. Even lifting small weights can do good things for blood glucose control.

The main key is finding a type of exercise you enjoy and doing it can help. Many think running or jogging is the only exercise for them and if that works – great. Others have found that swimming is good for them and is something that they can do year round even here in the Midwest because the indoor pools are open. Others must use exercise equipment and if they do – good for them.

The idea is to be doing something that you enjoy, can do three to seven days a week and at varying times. Walking is always good for those that can't run or jog. Your management of diabetes will improve and you will not need to rely solely on nutrition (diet) to manage your blood glucose levels. Plus, if you want to reduce your chances of developing the complications of diabetes, exercise is an excellent tool.

I have to end this with an observation about what many people with diabetes seem to think is important. On one of the forums I participate on occasionally, one member was mourning the lost of carbs. In the responses to this, exercise was never mentioned. There were some excellent suggestions about cutting carbs and finding substitutes, but I am also surprised at the lack of nutritional advice as well.

This is an area of weakness in most forums and not just diabetes forums. A few forums have members that practice what they preach and will mention exercise without hesitation while others very seldom even think of exercise.

Most forums would be well advised to have a broad range of medical professionals, dietitians and nutritionists, and people that know exercise available to offer advice and answer questions.