So how does the wellness movement keep perspective and stay focused on what matters? It’s not about just finding one’s true north but following it, day after day, year after year. Straying happens as more of a gradual slide than as any single decision to go down a bad road. You start off doing what you think is right or helpful or normal, and then it feels good to make some money, and then it feels necessary, and you have an obligation to grow and to be seen as flourishing and successful. Then before you know it, you’re running a huge company that’s preying on seekers and begging them off course.
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"Advocacy Month was appropriately themed “Midterms Matter: Add your voice,” in light of the Nov. 6 election. ASDA members across the country made sure their fellow students went to the polls to represent the dental profession. It was an especially exciting election season since five dentists were elected to Congress." Read more on ASDA's blog, Mouthing Off
This deluge of products alternately offered to fill attendees with energy or to calm us down, but almost never to keep us as we were. The implicit allure of such products was that we were not okay, or at least could be better. Given all the ways in which most people believe we could be improved, “wellness” has become an all-encompassing concept and industry that not only eats into the territory of mainstream medicine, but that has subsumed what used to be called “alternative medicine”—that which alludes to scientific claims when convenient and also defines itself in opposition to the scientific establishment.
The classic oral glucose tolerance test measures blood glucose levels five times over a period of three hours. Some physicians simply get a baseline blood sample followed by a sample two hours after drinking the glucose solution. In a person without diabetes, the glucose levels rise and then fall quickly. In someone with diabetes, glucose levels rise higher than normal and fail to come back down as fast.
Medications include a long (and boring) list of chemical names such as metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones … you get the point. Each of these drugs works by either helping the body secrete more insulin, making tissues more sensitive to the hormone, or preventing the secretion of more sugar into the bloodstream. But, ultimately, the first line of defense against diabetes is direct insulin injection because of its high efficacy. And there are at least six main types of insulin, accompanied by another long list of difficult-to-pronounce suffixes, each with a slightly different effect. Along with treatment, diabetes requires constant monitoring for blood sugar levels, which include at-home blood tests, and routine medical check-ups. An insulin pump that monitors and injects insulin when needed is another option.
One of the most studied programs in the National Institutes of Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). This program helps people who have pre-diabetes or a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes lose weight. Studies of the program have found that those who lost about seven percent of their initial weight, kept some of it off, and maintained an exercise program delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes for three years in 58% of cases.
Answer: In recent years, intermittent fasting has emerged as a novel way of treating patients with type 2 diabetes. There are anecdotal reports of patients who have lost weight, their blood sugar levels have improved significantly, and they no longer need to take their diabetes medications. Their disease appears to be in remission – if not exactly cured.
Though the Berkeley newsletter, which at its peak reached a million subscribers, did much to establish the credibility of wellness in the ’80s, language pundits continued to raise their eyebrows. Newman, who also moonlighted as a usage commentator, belittled wellness, calling it an example of “bloating” in the language. In 1988, a survey of the Usage Panel for the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language found that a whopping 68 percent of panelists disapproved of the word when used to refer to employee-wellness programs and the like, and a critical note was included in the dictionary’s 1992 edition.
Herbs and oils have long been used to relieve pain. Though there haven’t been many scientific studies of their use, some small studies have shown significant benefit from rubbing on certain essential oils (concentrated plant extracts), including lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, rose, clove, rosemary, ginger, and others. It was not clear whether it was the oils or the touch that made the difference.
As a global network of medical research charities, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is driving research into new treatments that present tremendous opportunities to deliver enhanced health and wellbeing for people with type-1 diabetes. The technology I am currently most enthused about is glucose responsive insulin, which I think is going to transform how people treat and live with type 1 in the future.
For a wellness festival, there was an unexpected amount of talk about the importance of suffering and pain. In one panel about addiction, the ultramarathoner Charlie Engle, who ran 30 marathons in his first three years of sobriety, told the story of his first son being born. “He was gonna save me,” Engle recalled, “and then six days later, after a crack binge, the police are searching my car, and I had to choose between living and dying. And I chose running ... I wanted to pound that part of me out and never visit it again.”
It could have been confused for a sermon had he not been dressed in black-leather pants and cursed so much. And like many people, he’s not exactly aligned with Alcoholics Anonymous’s religious tone and bent, and so he has rewritten the 12 steps in more colloquial terms for anyone who wants to change, whether the addiction is to “eating badly or to bad jobs or to pornography.” Brand’s own 12 steps, projected on a slide, are:—Are you a bit fucked?
But preventing the disease from progressing if you already have it requires first being able to spot the signs and symptoms of diabetes when they appear. While some type 2 diabetes symptoms may not ever show up, you can watch out for the following common signs of the disease and alert your doctor, especially if you have any of the common risk factors for diabetes. Also keep in mind that while most signs of type 2 diabetes are the same in men and women, there are some distinctions.
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Many drugs can help calm down overactive pain nerves. These include antiseizure medicines such as gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica). Since seizures are the most obvious case of oversensitive nerves, it makes sense that seizure drugs might help chronic pain. Lyrica seems to have fewer side effects than Neurontin and another drug, Topamax, which often cause mental fogginess.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health issued a consensus statement, cautiously recommending surgery as a treatment for people living with morbid obesity, meaning they have a body mass index, or BMI, over 40. For people who have health complications connected to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, the limit goes down to a BMI of 35. Relying on these guidelines, insurance companies and public payers like Medicaid and Medicare typically only cover surgery for people living with diabetes who fall into that category.
There is a risk that those who attempt it and fail could end up worse off, speculates Annie Hoang, a registered dietitian at Sunnybrook. An individual’s metabolism might switch into “starvation mode,” reducing the amount of energy needed at rest, she explains. That means some patients could regain all the weight they lost – and more – if they stop doing intermittent fasting.
The results of his medical tests are still being analyzed, Darkes said, but he hasn't needed insulin injections for a year and a half. "It took a long time to sink in," he noted. But Darkes is confident he no longer has type 1 diabetes. He said that doctors told him that he has a "rare" gene that somehow facilitated his cure. "I'm the only one who carries [the gene], at the moment," and there's no further explanation so far, he said.
Kidney damage from diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. The onset of kidney disease and its progression is extremely variable. Initially, diseased small blood vessels in the kidneys cause the leakage of protein in the urine. Later on, the kidneys lose their ability to cleanse and filter blood. The accumulation of toxic waste products in the blood leads to the need for dialysis. Dialysis involves using a machine that serves the function of the kidney by filtering and cleaning the blood. In patients who do not want to undergo chronic dialysis, kidney transplantation can be considered.
Diarrhea and constipation may also stem from diabetes-related gut movement issues. And the conditions may be related. “Diarrhea doesn’t mean fast motion; constipation doesn’t mean slow movement,” says Mashimo, happy to clear up a common misconception. “They can be two sides of the same coin.” Constipation, he says, is caused by slow movement of the bowels, which can cause a buildup of harmful bacteria in the colon that, in turn, triggers diarrhea.
There are some interesting developments in blood glucose monitoring including continuous glucose sensors. The new continuous glucose sensor systems involve an implantable cannula placed just under the skin in the abdomen or in the arm. This cannula allows for frequent sampling of blood glucose levels. Attached to this is a transmitter that sends the data to a pager-like device. This device has a visual screen that allows the wearer to see, not only the current glucose reading, but also the graphic trends. In some devices, the rate of change of blood sugar is also shown. There are alarms for low and high sugar levels. Certain models will alarm if the rate of change indicates the wearer is at risk for dropping or rising blood glucose too rapidly. One version is specifically designed to interface with their insulin pumps. In most cases the patient still must manually approve any insulin dose (the pump cannot blindly respond to the glucose information it receives, it can only give a calculated suggestion as to whether the wearer should give insulin, and if so, how much). However, in 2013 the US FDA approved the first artificial pancreas type device, meaning an implanted sensor and pump combination that stops insulin delivery when glucose levels reach a certain low point. All of these devices need to be correlated to fingersticks measurements for a few hours before they can function independently. The devices can then provide readings for 3 to 5 days.
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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.
Diabetes doesn’t cause nearly as much of a stir in the media compared to HIV or cancer, but a few well-known names are associated with the disease – Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, and Paula Deen. And who doesn’t love that Food Network maven and American celebrity chef? Scandals aside, diabetes comes in two versions – Type I or Type II. In Type I, the pancreas decides to drop out of the physiological rat race and go on to discover its own metabolic purpose in life. As a result, the body generates little or no insulin, a hormone important in sugar metabolism. In Type II, unfortunate dietary choices, such as eating tons of sugar and carbohydrates, jam up the sugar absorption process, causing the body to become resistant to the insulin hormone. Type 2 makes up 90 percent of all cases of diabetes, which is going to be our focus here as we talk about when there will be a cure for diabetes. (Spoiler alert: Probably only after we ban the Big Gulp and the Big Mac.)
Poxel (PP:POXEL) is a French pharmaceutical company that recently received $30.1 million in post-IPO equity in 2016. The company has developed an orally active medication called Imeglimin, which targets all three organs and body systems that are affected by diabetes simultaneously: the pancreas, liver, and muscles. The drug is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical work in Japan, and will commence phase 3 trials in the European Union and the United States that will be completed by 2019. The company is also concurrently working on several other pharmaceutical agents in various stages of the development pipeline.
Monitoring your caloric intake may be helpful if you’re overweight, but everyone with type 2 diabetes should track how many carbs they’re taking in. That can be tricky because carbs are in many of the common foods you may already eat, but there are both good and bad sources of carbs. Fruits and vegetables, for example, are good sources, while pretzels and cookies are bad sources. (29)