DIABETES WATCH

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Preexisting Diabetes Doubles for Expectant Moms

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that the number of pregnant women with preexisting diabetes had more than doubled in the last 7 years. The number of teenagers with diabetes giving birth increased 5-fold during the same time period.

The study, published online April 28, 2008, in Diabetes Care, focused on the health records from >175,000 ethnically diverse women who gave birth in 12 Kaiser hospitals in southern California from 1999 to 2005. In 1999, 245 women had preexisting diabetes; by 2005, 537 were affected. This means that the rate increased from 8 per 1000 pregnancies to 18 per 1000. The largest increase was among 13- to 19-year-olds giving birth. It rose from about 1 per 1000 pregnancies to 5.5 per 1000 during the 7-year period.

Pregnant women who do not control their diabetes face greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. "These are high-risk pregnancies," said Florence Brown, MD, an expert on pregnancy and diabetes.



Soy a Plus for Type 2 Diabetes

Eating more soy may have a long-term effect on the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys of individuals with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, according to a study reported in Diabetes Care (April 2008).

For the study, researchers followed 41 patients with type 2 diabetes for 4 years. The soy group (n = 20) ate a diet that was 35% animal protein, 35% textured soy protein, and 30% vegetable protein. The control group (n = 21) consumed a diet that consisted of 70% animal protein and 30% vegetable protein. This group received the same medical care as the soy group; the only difference was lack of soy protein.

The findings indicate that the soy group had significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. Furthermore, circulating C-reactive protein levels were lower, as were levels of well-known urinary indicators of kidney disease.



Youth Benefit from Low GI Diet

Children and teens with type 1 diabetes may improve their blood sugar control with a low glycemic index (GI) diet. Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development tested the effects of high GI and low GI meals on blood sugar levels using continuous blood sugar monitoring in 20 patients with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 7 and 16 years.

The findings, reported in the April 2008 Diabetes Care, indicate that a low GI diet can improve blood sugar control "to a clinically meaningful degree above that obtained by careful carbohydrate counting and contemporary insulin regimens," explained lead author Tonja R. Nansel, PhD.



Diabetic Eye Problem, HF Correlation

Patients with diabetic retinopathy may have to worry about heart failure, according to a study reported in the April 22, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers were able to determine retinopathy as a heart risk factor by looking at participants without kidney disease and heart disease.

The finding is based on a study of >1000 middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes who were followed for 9 years. At the study onset, only 125 of the participants had diabetic retinopathy. After 9 years, heart failure was detected in 27 of them (21.6%). The occurrence in those without the eye condition was 8.5%.



Men with Diabetes: Watch Egg Consumption

A study limited to physicians and men found that eating >6 eggs a week increases the risk of dying from all causes.

The researchers analyzed egg consumption and mortality data among 21,000 men who had participated in a Physician's Health Study that examined heart disease and cancer prevention. For 20 years, the physicians completed yearly written questionnaires, including daily egg consumption, stroke and heart attack occurrence, and diabetes status. The study results showed that eating 7 or more eggs a week among healthy study participants was associated with a 23% higher risk of death. Physicians with diabetes, however, doubled their odds of dying from all causes when eating 7 or more eggs a week, compared with physicians with diabetes who ate just one egg a week. The findings were reported in the April 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.