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The Diabetic Pharmacist Blog

How Dangerous Is That “Beer Belly”?

How Dangerous Is That “Beer Belly”?

    No one wants to be fat, but does it matter where the fat is located?  Apparently it does. Researchers have found visceral or intra-abdominal fat is more dangerous than other fats. This “beer belly” fat is connected to many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Scientists aren’t quite sure why this type of fat is so dangerous. The theory is that all fat cells secrete hazardous chemicals, and those deep in the abdomen release three times as many of these chemicals as those under the skin. Also, the chemicals made by visceral fat cells are dumped directly into the liver, causing disruption in normal liver operations.
 How can you tell if you have too much of this fat? Nutritionists say that women that have waists of more than 35 inches and men who have waists more than 40 inches are at increased risk of health problems. What should you do to get rid of this fat? Take a walk--literally. Studies have shown that just walking 1 hour a day is better than dieting to lose the same amount of weight and visceral fat. So get your tennis shoes on and take a hike. Your mind and body will appreciate itJ. (Diabetes Self Management Sept/Oct 2009)

Asian Americans have a high risk of Diabetes

Asian Americans are more likely to develop Type II Diabetes.

New studies are showing Asian Americans are more likely likely to develop Type II Diabetes than white Americans, even though they have a low rate of obesity. The results are quite surprising, given the fact that Asian Americans have a much better BMI (body mass index) compared to other ethnic groups. Asian Indians had the highest rate of diabetes, followed by Filipinos, other Asians, Chinese.

These puzzling results suggest that maybe there should be different definitions of obesity for different ethnic populations. This might be  due to different associations between BMI, percentage of fat, and health risks in comparison between Asians and Europeans, for example.

Youths from other ethnic minorities, especially Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and African Americans are at risk of complications of diabetes before the age of 35. For example, nearly 50 percent of African American children born in the US are expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime.

2011 Diabetes Figures

As of January 2011, CDC figures show nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million who have pre-diabetes. Among adults over 20 years old, 11.3% have diabetes and 35% have pre-diabetes. And of those people that do have diabetes, 27% are not even diagnosed yet. Kind of scary, don’t you think?

Are You Still Taking Avandia?

If you are still taking Avandia, I want to let you know about the new FDA regulations that will be starting in the very near future.

    The FDA wants to restrict the use of any medications containing rosiglitazone (Avandia,Avandamet, and Avandaryl).
They will be allowed only in patients that cannot control their Type 2 diabetes with other medications. These restrictions come as a result of the increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and strokes in people taking Avandia.
The FDA will allow it to stay on the market as long as all the following happen:

  •    1. All patients are given complete risk information and it is documented in their medical records.
  •    2. Consultation with your health care provider and documentation that you will not take Actos(pioglitazone) while taking Avandia.
  •    3. Documentation from health care providers that all patients have received the risk information.
  •    4. Physicians,patients, and pharmacists must enroll in the REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program.

Approximately 600,000 patients are affected by this decision by the July 2010 Advisory Committee. The label changes and the REMS will take several months to complete. So don’t be surprised when your doctor starts talking to you about this new REMS program or possibly switching you to another medication (Actos).

Brian Ray, The Diabetic Pharmacist

(Drug Topics October 2010)

Believe It Or Not

Here are some quick facts:

  • 1. In 2009, the diabetic medication metformin was the 6th  most prescribed medication in the US.
  • 2. The average American consumes more than 4500 calories and 220 grams of fat during a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
  • 3. Every 20 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes.

Is Aspirin Therapy Necessary in Diabetics?

  • What is Low-dose Aspirin therapy?

For most people, this is taking a baby aspirin (81mg) on a daily basis. Some doctors have their patients on a full aspirin (325mg), but this seems to be declining these days. It doesn’t matter if the tablet is a chewable, regular, or an enteric coated aspirin, that only determines how quickly the aspirin is absorbed by your body. Enteric coated aspirin is coated so it is less irritating to your stomach and lessens the chances of bleeding in your stomach.

  • What are the new guidelines?

In a joint statement in June 2010 from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Hear Association (AHA), and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), it was recommended that stricter guidelines be followed for initiating low-dose aspirin therapy in patients with diabetes. Previously, the recommendations were to start low-dose aspirin therapy in any person with diabetes older than 40, regardless of  other risk factors. The guidelines now recommend low-dose aspirin therapy be started only in men older than 50 and women older than 60 that have diabetes and 1 additional major risk factor for cardiovascular events. These would include smoking, high lipids or cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of disease, or albumin in your urine.

Two major studies in Japan and the US showed no significant benefits to aspirin therapy in diabetics. The benefits of aspirin therapy have to be weighed against the risks , especially the risk of developing bleeding problems.

  • So what do I do?

I would recommend that if you are currently on aspirin therapy, that you continue as you have been. If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, I would check with your doctor and see if he feels that aspirin therapy is of any benefit for you, since he knows your medical history and will be able to weigh the benefits and risks for you individually.

Brian Ray, The Diabetic Pharmacist

New Scented Metformin

For all you people that are on metformin for your diabetes, Mylan pharmaceuticals is coming out with a new blackberry scented metformin to get rid of that terrible fishy smell. Yahoo! Check in the near future at your pharmacy to see if they will stock it.

Hello from the Diabetic Pharmacist

Hello from Brian Ray, the Diabetic Pharmacist! Check out the introduction page and find out what this site is all about. Hope you enjoy it.

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