June 17, 2011

FDA Warns About Risks With Victoza

On Monday, June 13, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to all healthcare professionals to closely monitor all diabetes patients receiving laraglutide (Victoza) injections for thyroid C-cell tumors and acute pancreatitis.

This also is supported by Novo Nordisk in their letter stating that a recent assessment has showed that some primary care providers are not fully aware of the serious risks involved with the use of Victoza.

Even though the the evidence is from animal studies that prompted this alert, it is considered serious enough to warrant extra attention by healthcare professionals. The FDA recommends that patients with thyroid nodules noted by physical examination or imaging for other reasons be referred to an endocrinologist for additional evaluation.

The FDA urges physicians to observe patients carefully after initiation of Victoza therapy or dose increases for signs of pancreatitis. This includes ongoing severe abdominal pain that can sometimes radiate to the back, and which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.

Read this important warning about Victoza (laraglutide) here. And if you have read my blog about Victoza here, also heed the warning.

June 16, 2011

Is Corn the Culprit for the Rise of Diabetes?

Corn not only is part of the rise of diabetes, but the dramatic increase in obesity. Corn is in just about every food we consume. Whether it is corn sugar, corn solids, corn alcohol, cornstarch, corn oil, or just plain ole high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), we are exposed to corn based foods every day. Consider the corn that the beef, the pigs, the lamb, the chickens, or the turkey consumed. We just can't get away from corn.

Most of us would use a lot less sugar if it was cane sugar or beet sugar, but the corn industry has convinced food manufacturers that people will not consume their product unless HFCS or corn sugar sweetens the product. Even the USDA promotes corn-based products. This is as bad as the promotion of “healthy whole grains”. If the farmers produce it, it has to be good for us. Phooey, and double phooey! It is harmful to our health and healthy well-being.

People are beginning to worry about all this packaged concealed sugar. This has given the corn industry cause for worry as HFCS has taken to blame, and now they have petitioned the USDA for renaming HFCS as “corn sugar”. If it is true that HFCS is just sugar and ours bodies cannot tell the difference, as their advertising proclaims, we as consumers need to be as concerned and careful about it as we are of sugar.

Since corn is present in most packaged foods and fast foods, we should attempt to avoid these foods when possible. It may not be possible to avoid all corn products, but most products should not be on our grocery lists. The products like HFCS sweetened soda drinks and most packaged foods should not be on the menu if you are trying to lose weight.

If you doubt what others and I are writing about, do some earnest label study for a few months. Take some of the foods you have on hand at home and read the labels. Many will have HFCS, corn solids, corn oil, or other corn products listed as an ingredient on the label.

Read the following articles for discussions even more definitive that mine. Read this one, and this article. To read what the corn industry is saying and view some of their video ads here.

June 15, 2011

Ignorance Is Not Bliss in Diabetes Care

Many people do ignore the treatment and care of diabetes. Many people rely on holistic care for a disease that needs medical care and intervention on the physicians’ side and by the patient. Diabetes has surpassed HIV in mortality rate and together with other non-communicable diseases has become the major cause of mortality in the world.

Diabetes affects the metabolism of the body, the eyes, heart, and kidneys and causes severe foot problems which is estimated to result in 50,000 lower limb amputations every year. This is expected to become 100,000 amputations per year in the near future. Diabetes not only affects the quantity, but the quality of life. Therefore, why do so many people continue to ignore the care and treatment of diabetes?

While the statistics can tell the story, people often chose to ignore them, thinking they can avoid the disease. Many people have the potential to do just that by changing their lifestyle and exercising to lose weight. For some this will work and they will avoid the disease, but for others, diabetes will creep into their lives and can affect them in ways they have not thought possible.

While the main concern of this article is about foot care, this is just a fraction of the problems that face people with diabetes. Unmanaged diabetes can end the quality of life for these individuals. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the physicians to intervene and educate people with diabetes and provide follow-up care to see that they understand the severity of diabetes.

There is a need for patients and the public to know about the importance of diabetes care, wearing the correct footwear, and what ignoring the doctors orders can mean to poor health. Experts can emphasize the importance of counseling by trained personnel, but the patients must learn to adhere to the training and also learn how to care for themselves.

Depression therapy needs to be implemented and the patient needs to learn how to manage diabetes and feel happy about life in general. It can be hoped that ignorance can be wiped out in the future. To assume that everything is okay today is just deluding ourselves.

June 14, 2011

Initial Reactions to Diabetes Diagnosis

How did you react when you were told you have diabetes? Were you shocked? Did the stress level head for the stratosphere? If you did not have these reactions, then you were probably one of the minority who was able to take it in stride and step right in to managing diabetes.

Many people are not prepared, not even wanting to accept the diagnosis and panic panels look out! These people are angry and often denial is next with possibly a dose of depression thrown in. These people are not ready to learn management techniques and make the changes necessary to manage diabetes so that they may live a healthy life.

Then there are the people that know diabetes is serious, but even though they are not prepared, dive into the education, adapt to the lifestyle changes that must become permanently part of their lives. They search out sources of reliable information, glean everything they can from the educators and dietitians, and adapt the information to their lives to be able to successfully manage diabetes.

Then we come to those that ignore what the doctor, educators, and dietitians tell them and search out the nearest health food store for answers. They will try anything to return to the life, as they knew it. If they are early in the diagnosis stage or have prediabetes, they may not have severe problems for a few years, but eventually if they don't change their lifestyle, they will either be back in the doctors office, or in the emergency room and possibly admitted to the hospital. They will wonder what went wrong and will be blaming everyone but themselves.

If they haven't been convinced about the seriousness of diabetes, they will again head for the holistic healers looking for the non-existent cure, convinced that they can be healed without the medications from the doctor. Some will take up exercise and may get by for a few more years before the complications start to take their toll and put them back in the doctor’s office. Then they will wonder from doctor to doctor trying to find the cure they know has to be out there.

Since they are people with Type 2 diabetes, they will continue to look for the cure and become more and more depressed when they cannot find it. I know one of these people, I am constantly being asked who to see, and who has the cure because they see me living a life as I go about my business. I am not running from doctor to doctor looking for the cure, but taking my medications and managing my diabetes to the best of my abilities. I have explained that I am on medications and that there is no cure, but they do not believe me. They say that there has to be a pill that will cure their diabetes and allow them to live a normal life.

I can only tell them that I wish this was so, but until there is a cure, they had better learn how to manage diabetes. Then they trot out that this is the twenty-first century and there has to be a cure. I finally say that the only cure I am aware of may be when I am put six feet underground, but until then, I will continue to read, research, and look for things that I can do to improve my management of diabetes.

I am very disappointed for this person, as this person now has chronic kidney disease and has been denied a place on the kidney transplant list. This alone should be a lesson that you need to manage your diabetes to the best of your abilities. There are other types that chose to ignore diabetes and they all have their motives.

June 13, 2011

Electronic Access Info to Be Allowed to Patients

For once, the patients are being may be given the rights to see who accesses their electronic medical records. If the current plan stays the course, the earliest you will be able to get a record of who accessed you electronic medical records will not happen until after January 1, 2013. Not that you will be able to do much about it, but at least you will be able to see the when and who accessed your records. This proposed right would allow you to see documentation of the particular person who electronically accessed and viewed your health information.

This will mean that any individual that accesses your electronic health records will be documented for you. This will of course include physicians, hospitals, health plans, and other healthcare organizations, plus law enforcement, judicial hearings, public health investigations. A record is currently kept of this information, but until this rule goes into effect, hopefully on January 1, 2013, you as the patient have no rights to see who accessed your records.

This proposed new privacy rule is issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services and appears in the Federal Register. Public comments are accepted until August 1, 2011. If the rule goes into effect, then all privacy rules must be updated and a new copy of the rules will be given to all patients seen on or after January 1, 2013.

The proposed privacy rule is divided into two separate rights for individuals. The first right sets forth an individual's right to an accounting of disclosures, to include the date of disclosure, what information was disclosed, the recipient of the information, and the purpose of the disclosure – for example, law enforcement. The second right focuses on the right to an access report.

The proposed rule would also would reduce the responding time for an accounting request from 60 days to 30 days and the current six years of disclosures would be reduced to three years.

This proposed rule is an important step in the efforts to promote accountability across the health care system. This would ensure that providers properly safeguard private health information. The need to protect peoples' rights (more appropriately patient's rights) so that they know how their health information has been used or disclosed."

Read the article about this proposed rule change here.