DIABETES WATCH

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Driving Unwise with Hypoglycemia

A study of 65 adults with diabetes found that drivers who have trouble gauging when their blood sugar is low may operate a car when they should not, according to a study published in Diabetes Care (November 2007).

In the small study, the researchers found that 21 of 45 adults with type 1 diabetes had difficulty recognizing that they had low blood sugar. Of these patients, 43% believed they were able to drive even when they were experiencing hypoglycemia. The study participants completed 2 sessions in a driving simulator, once with normal blood sugar levels and once with low sugar. Throughout the testing, the patients were asked whether they felt hypoglycemic and whether, in daily life, they would drive.

The results of the tests showed that of the patients with type 1 diabetes with good awareness, only 1 participant felt okay to drive when hypoglycemic, compared with 9 of 21 with poor awareness.


Diabetics: Take a Walk to Lower Heart Risks

A daily walk may help patients with diabetes decrease their risk of heart disease, reported researchers in the International Journal of Sports Medicine (October 2007).

The study, which included 102 adults with type 2 diabetes, found that those who committed to a daily walking regimen for 17 months had a lower risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke, compared with patients who ceased exercising. The participants were asked to take a 20- to 30-minute walk every day. Of the 64 patients who fulfilled the requirement, 2% had a stroke and none developed heart disease during the study duration. Of the 38 participants who did not complete the exercise program, 18% developed heart disease or had a stroke.


Death Rate Climbing for Blacks with Diabetes

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that black children with diabetes face a significantly higher death rate, compared with white children. The researchers said that the trend has been accelerating among children aged 1 to 19.

For the study, the researchers looked at death certificates from 1979 to 2004 that indicated that, between 2003 and 2004, diabetes was the cause of death for 89 children and teens. During that time period, the annual diabetes death rate for black children and teens was more than 2 times that for white children. The researchers also found that the mortality rate among blacks has been rising since 1998, while for whites it decreased drastically from 1979 to 1994 and then leveled off from 1994 to 2004. The findings were published in the November 16, 2007, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


New Series Targets Teens and Diabetes

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) recently introduced Tips for Teens with Diabetes, a series of tip sheets and an online quiz specifically created for teens to help them manage their disease and reduce the risk for complications.

The series topics include What is Diabetes?, Be Active, Make Healthy Food Choices, Stay at a Healthy Weight, and Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Diabetes. The NDEP also has a tip sheet addressing the teens at risk for type 2 diabetes, called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Furthermore, the group has created an interactive online quiz for teens with diabetes based on information found in the tip sheets.

For more information about the NDEP's free resources for children and teens, visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org, or call 888-693-NDEP (888-693-6337).


Instant Messaging Helps Treat Diabetes

Patients with diabetes may be able to manage their disease better with an automated instant-messaging service. For 12 weeks, patients who used a Web-based short messaging service lost weight, had better control of their blood sugar, and had lower blood sugar before and after meals, according to Korean researchers.

The study involved 35 patients with diabetes and 36 patients in a control group. The patients who used the service recorded their diet and the amount of exercise on a Web site and were given a device to calculate blood sugar and a pedometer that linked with their cell phone and sent data directly to their Web data sheet. The system sent messages back to the cell phones.

After 12 weeks, the researchers found that patients who used the service had lost an average of 1.9 kg and had a decrease in their average glycosylated hemoglobin levels from 8.06% to 7.34%. The control group saw no change. Their findings were published in the November 2007 issue of Diabetes Care.

F A S T   F A C T : According to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006, 1 in 523 people younger than age 20 has diabetes.