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Diabetes Diagnosis Scares
Many Despite unhealthy eating behaviors that increase the risk of diabetes, a survey of >2500 adults indicated that more than half of the respondents fear developing the blood sugar disease.
Choosing from a list, 52% of the respondents reported that having a chronic illness was the worst thing they could imagine happening. Almost 50% said they have not spoken with their physician about common chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. A majority were aware of at least 1 diabetes risk factor, but less than half recognized their own risk (such as overweight) and more than half of those polled incorrectly said eating excess sugar was a diabetes risk factor.
Fetal Growth, Premature Birth Predict Diabetes
New research suggests the association between low birth weights and development of diabetes later in life is the result of poor growth as a fetus and premature birth, according to a study of 6425 patients reported in Diabetes Care (March 2009).
For the study, the researchers identified a group of individuals born prematurely or with low birth weights at 4 hospitals in Sweden from 1925 through 1949. Disease in these groups was compared with that seen in patients who had normal birth weights and were born at full term. Hospital databases showed that 508 of the patients were treated for diabetes during follow-up from 1987 to 2006.
The researchers found that the participants who were born before the 32nd week of pregnancy were 67% more prone to develop diabetes, compared with those who were born at term. Birth weights a lot lower than average for a given point in pregnancy raised the odds of diabetes by 76%.
AF Ups Mortality Risk
A study reported in the March 12, 2009, issue of the European Heart Journal found a strong link between atrial fibrillation (AF) and the increased risk of other heart-related problems and death in diabetic patients. The study included 11,140 participants.
For the study, the researchers found that the patients who had AF at study onset were 61% more likely to die from any cause, 77% more likely to die from cardiovascular causes, and 68% more likely to develop heart failure or other problems such as stroke. The findings, however, showed that if physicians gave more aggressive treatments to diabetic patients with AF, the risk of complications or dying was lower.
The association between AF and deaths from cardiovascular disease was more prevalent in women, compared with men. Women with AF were twice as likely to die as women without the condition. Men with AF, however, were 50% more likely to die than men without it.
Sleep Can Affect Diabetes Odds
People can help lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes with a good night’s sleep, according to a study of 1455 individuals. Patients averaging <6 hours of sleep per night during the week over a number of years had nearly 5 times the chance of developing diabetes, compared with individuals who averaged 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
The study, in which participants reported on their sleep habits, compared fasting glucose levels over a 6-year period. The researchers found no major difference in fasting glucose levels or the odds of developing type 2 diabetes between those who averaged 6 to 8 hours of shut-eye weeknights and those who averaged >8 hours a night.
The findings were recently presented at the American Heart Association meeting.
Stress Impacts Blood Sugar Levels
In obese black women, stress may be a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, according to findings presented recently at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting.
The study involved 62 healthy, nondiabetic black women who were asked to remember stressful life events. Simultaneously, the researchers measured the women’s level of blood sugar and epinephrine, the hormone that is released in reaction to stress.
The researchers found that women with high epinephrine levels (25 pg/mL or more) while recalling stressful events and more belly fat (33% or more total body fat) had considerably higher fasting glucose scores (about 100 mg/dL), compared with women with lower epinephrine and less belly fat (85 mg/ dL). The investigators noted that additional research is warranted to determine exactly how epinephrine affects blood sugar levels in this patient population.
FAST FACT: Nearly 1 in 4 black women in the United States has type 2 diabetes.