In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes called heartburn, stomach acid and partially undigested food move backward through the esophagus, escaping from the stomach and through the esophageal sphincter that normally prevents such backsliding. This can occur as a symptom of gastroparesis, says Hiroshi Mashimo, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist at Harvard Medical School. “If the stomach doesn’t empty, it’s likely to reflux up,” he says. GERD may also result from diabetes-related nerve damage affecting the esophageal sphincter, Mashimo adds. One caution: Some diseases, such as a yeast infection in the esophagus, can masquerade as GERD, so don’t brush off symptoms. We can’t treat the gastroparesis or esophageal sphincter problems that contribute to GERD, but antacids and other medications can help to reduce or neutralize stomach acids (see “PPIs the Right Way,” below).
Currently, people with diabetes who receive a transplanted pancreas (typically not possible unless you are also having a kidney transplant) or who receive islet-cell transplants as part of a research study in the US must take these drugs so that their own body won’t attack the new cells. The drugs work, but raise risk for bacterial and viral infections as well as for mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatigue and even some cancers.
For over a decade, Cummings and others have tried to reframe the very concept of bariatric surgery (they prefer “metabolic surgery”). Their work has shown these procedures just don’t change how much food the stomach can fit; they trigger a cascade of metabolic and bodily changes, many of which help people with type 2 diabetes naturally get their blood sugar under control. Some changes even start happening before a patient loses weight, such as higher levels of peptide production in the gut that seem to restore a patient’s sensitivity to insulin.
At Diabetes Daily, we prefer using the word remission over cure because far too often the state of diabetes returns even with people’s best efforts. Regardless of the definition of a cure, finding a way to live with little to know highs or lows is a worthwhile endeavor. Long-term studies show that even a few years of great blood sugars significantly reduces your long-term risk of complications.
While there is a strong genetic component to developing this form of diabetes, there are other risk factors - the most significant of which is obesity. There is a direct relationship between the degree of obesity and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and this holds true in children as well as adults. It is estimated that the chance to develop diabetes doubles for every 20% increase over desirable body weight.
People tend to push themselves until pain or fatigue makes them stop. They then rest for the shortest possible time, then get back to work until pain stops them again. You can prevent this cycle by pacing yourself: Figure out how much you can do without pain, and stop before you reach that point. Rest up, then start again. You’ll get more done with less pain.
“I am extremely pleased to see that technology developed in Tejal Desai’s group is getting to the point that we can explore this for therapeutic purposes,” Matthias Hebrok, PhD, the director of the Diabetes Center at UCSF and a member of Encellin’s scientific advisory board, noted on the UCSF website. “Encapsulation and protection of islet cells remain a critical hurdle that needs to be overcome before cell therapy becomes a reality in type 1 diabetes.”
At the opening social event, I made conversation by asking people what had brought them to the festival—which mostly featured things available in most metropolitan areas, and sessions of the sort that can be viewed online. I thought that constituted small talk. By the end, I realized it was not; many people had come for reasons that run deep. I went to the desert wary of the worst side of the wellness movement as an elitist industry that preys on the very human desire to feel like we’re getting ahead of others, but the more I talked to people, the more I realized that the attendees were largely aware of the problems, and wanted to get back to a distilled notion of why people have long come to love wellness trends and fads: the promise of connection.
Sex is a good pain reliever, and orgasm is more powerful than almost any drug in relieving pain. Rutgers University professor and sex researcher Beverly Whipple, PhD, found that when women had orgasms, their pain “thresholds” went up by more than 108%. In other words, things that usually hurt them no longer had an effect. She believes men have similar responses, though she’s only studied women. The pain-reducing effect seems to last for hours.
Sandi takes several medications for diabetes, asthma, and kidney damage, and she says one source of anxiety is the feeling that she can never get her diabetes under control. Recently, when she had to switch her asthma medication, her fasting blood glucose levels skyrocketed from between 85 and 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) to between 160 and 180 mg/dl. It took two months to bring them back down, but they were still not stabilized.
Because both yeast and bacteria multiply more quickly when blood sugar levels are elevated, women with diabetes are overall at a higher risk of feminine health issues, such as bacterial infections, yeast infections, and vaginal thrush, especially when blood sugar isn't well controlled. And a lack of awareness about having prediabetes or diabetes can make managing blood sugar impossible.
Diabetes can occur temporarily during pregnancy, and reports suggest that it occurs in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies. Significant hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to blood sugar elevation in genetically predisposed individuals. Blood sugar elevation during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born. However, 35% to 60% of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years, especially in those who require insulin during pregnancy and those who remain overweight after their delivery. Women with gestational diabetes are usually asked to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test about six weeks after giving birth to determine if their diabetes has persisted beyond the pregnancy, or if any evidence (such as impaired glucose tolerance) is present that may be a clue to a risk for developing diabetes.
Findings from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) have clearly shown that aggressive and intensive control of elevated levels of blood sugar in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes decreases the complications of nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy, and may reduce the occurrence and severity of large blood vessel diseases. Aggressive control with intensive therapy means achieving fasting glucose levels between 70-120 mg/dl; glucose levels of less than 160 mg/dl after meals; and a near normal hemoglobin A1c levels (see below).
One participant in an online discussion on the Diabetes Self-Management blog wrote, “I noticed that when I was doing something like reading an interesting book, or walking and talking with a friend, I was not consciously feeling pain.” Another wrote, “I keep my mind busy with genealogy [family history] during the day. I play sudoku and crosswords at night until I can fall asleep.”
Diabetes is a whole-body problem. The disease is marked by too high blood glucose, which affects the many cells fed by the circulatory system. The cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the nerves that control its movement are no exception. People with diabetes have an elevated risk for a spectrum of GI disorders that can make life uncomfortable. Identifying the cause of GI discomfort is the first step toward getting the right treatment and finding relief.
“The field has suffered from a checkered history 20, 30 years ago, when there were operations that were dangerous. But modern metabolic surgery is very safe,” Cummings said. “The risk of dying from a laparoscopic gastric bypass is a little bit less than the risk of dying from having your gallbladder or appendix removed. But we never consider those risky surgeries; they’re totally bread-and-butter procedures.”
Around 75% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes mellitus. This was earlier termed non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or maturity-onset diabetes mellitus. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing. In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced or the insulin that is made by the body is insufficient to meet the needs of the body. Obesity or being overweight predisposes to type 2 diabetes.
Trick (important): Cut down on sweets, and if you can, cut them out entirely for a couple months. I still eat ice cream about once a week, and know people who are losing weight on this diet while eating ice cream almost every day. But this probably won’t be the case for everyone. Better to severely restrict sweets for the first few months, and then gradually reintroduce.
Our research project directory showcases the diverse and exciting array of diabetes research projects that we are supporting all over the UK. Everything you see is possible thanks to the continued support of our members, donors and voluntary groups – who help us decide which studies deserve the charity's support and help raise the money that is vital to research.
Weight loss surgery in those with obesity and type two diabetes is often an effective measure. Many are able to maintain normal blood sugar levels with little or no medications following surgery and long-term mortality is decreased. There is, however, a short-term mortality risk of less than 1% from the surgery. The body mass index cutoffs for when surgery is appropriate are not yet clear. It is recommended that this option be considered in those who are unable to get both their weight and blood sugar under control.