Thursday, May 29, 2008

Even thin people get diabetes

An article carried on MSNBC (reprinted from the magazine "MensHealth") began with this promising headline.

Unfortunately, the headline of the article was probably the best and truest part. At least 33 percent of type II diabetics have never been fat in their lives.

But the article itself is typical from what can be expected from "MensHealth" magazine - MensHealth is a real pop science mag and not an accurate source at all. We KNOW that MSNBC would LIKELY NOT print a REALLY informative article about anything regarding obesity or diabetes and in that way, this article did not disappoint.

Most people will NOT slog through the verbiage which is very extensive ... I slogged through about 3/4 of it and then, decided the rest was more of the same.

The picture most people will take away with them from reading a couple of paragraphs, however, is the gaunt emaciated father (whom the author carefully avoids directly SAYING has diabetes by the way, so he may not even have the disease) who is in a nursing home and obviously suffering from Alzheimers. Well, news flash...Alzheimers is not only NOT related to diabetes (it's a gene also) but it's one of those diseases which fat people seldom get for some reason.... My FIL, a thin man who had diabetes and lost his legs to the illness, was intelligent and sharp up to the day he died just short of his 70th birthday. And my hubby's cousin is the same age as the author's gaunt father, has diabetes, takes medication and has a BMI which is in the high 50's or even the 60's - she travels all over the place, goes on cruises and doesn't even particularly adher to avoiding the sweets she's always liked. And she certainly is NOT senile in any way - she still lives on her own, having out lived her slim, health minded husband by several years, by the way.

Most people will just read the first couple of paragraphs and take with them the frightening picture of the senile father with Alzheimer's which the author has now connected with diabetes. But the media has that covered - most will scan the sub-headlines and get the message they want to convey anyway. One of these, is suggesting "low carb diet" for diabetes. But in reality that the reason even the ADA has NOT embraced low carb diets for diabetes is because there is NO PROOF that these diets are of ANY benefit to reducing sugar levels. It seems logical but people forget that EVERYTHING ends up glucose for energy. And I've seen my hubby, GG, a diabetic diagnosed 15 years ago, eat an all carb dinner and have a high reading in the morning and then the next night eat totally not only carb but fats and simple carbs and sugar and then have a low reading the following morning.

Diabetes sugar levels do apparently not rely on what you eat. They MAY rely on HOW MUCH you eat but the jury is still out on that one also. However there is certainly more observational evidence that eating less can bring down sugar levels but some of the slimmest diabetics have very high sugar levels so who really knows?

I have a friend who BELIEVEEEESSSS in the low carb way... she is an apostle for low carb eating. But her husband on much more metformin than GG even though HER husband is newly diagnosed, and who eats faithfully low carb, has sugar levels which range in the 300's (morning reading). She is not deterred however. Low carb dieting has not been kind of her figure either - she's got a high BMI even with never touching sugar and seems unable to lose the weight which has bugged her for decades. (We know she IS upset about her weight because she had weight loss surgery which was a health disaster for her, many years ago)

The article has a short blurb about exercise and this is about its only saving grace however, in the length of it, I bet most folks will have missed the paragraph about exercise so here it is for your convenience:

*** Just how powerful an antidote is exercise? A study published recently in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that insulin resistance in rats decreased more from exercise than from taking metformin, the leading diabetes drug.***

That's it... pretty slim for what probably is the ONLY thing they know of to help control sugar levels besides medication. And by the way, they have a lot more than RAT studies suggesting the benefits of exercise for everyone and specifically for diabetics (i.e. intentional cardio).

More inaccuracies of the article? Diabetes is NOT the fastest growing disease. In fact, levels have DECREASED slightly in the last decade or so. How they are proclaiming that the incidence of diabetes has increased, may be because they are now counting everyone with a slightly elevated sugar level as in the realm of diabetic. Also they count women with gestational diabetes however, it has been observed that only about 50 percent of those with gestational diabetes actually come down with the illness. Often fat people even those with normal sugar levels are counted among the "pre diabetics".

The statement about diabetes greatly rising in incidence among children is erroneous also. People are BORN with insulin resistance - what is rising in incidence is our ability to DIAGNOSE insulin resistance in kids - something we were not able to do a couple of decades ago. But are we using this to get ALL KIDS to exercise or re-instituting P.E. on a daily basis in the schools? NOPE! It's just used as a scare tactic to sell diets and diet foods and impose diets on our children in their most vulnerable years.

What IS scary is not the "shockers" this article promises but rather than there is so much misinformation floating around about diabetes, it's frightening. Few doctors REQUIRE exercise of diabetics even though that's the only thing which has been shown to help.

Luckily we have medications which are excellent like metformin and do not have to rely on the "pancreas" burners like our parents were stuck with.

Many diabetics die of heart disease (which the media is quick to blame on the disease thus forgetting that heart disease in general IS the leading cause of death of ALL Americans not only diabetics!). And the greatest help in preventing or healing heart disease... The big "E" word, exercise.

Only 25 percent of Americans exercise cardio (which is what strengthens your heart) 3 times a week. Only 5 percent of Americans do daily cardio which is really what you need.

That (and not this inane article) is sobering and scary. Have YOU done your cardio today?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vaccines - how urgently do we need them?

As people who know me, know, I am very against hard advertising of medical procedures and drugs to the public. As for vaccines, I don't know HOW I feel about them. I'm not totally against them but I feel perhaps, they are overused in our society and have become a cash cow.

Gardasil the so called HPV vaccine is being more heavily (and emotionally) advertised than many other drugs and I ask myself - why does the pharmaceutical company feel it has to spend this type of money on advertising this vaccine.

Perhaps because the side effects of the vaccine are a bit much for many people? Apparently the CDC has received thousands of complaints and some of them are serious things like serious illness and death.

Also according the ads, gardasil does NOT cover all the viruses causing HPV. According to one article I read, it only covers FOUR of the 100 some HPV viruses. That doesn't seem very many.

But another niggling doubt I have, is this business of "blaming" unvaccinated kids for the outbreaks of things like measles, AMONG vaccinated kids. We would think that if a kid was vaccinated, they would be IMMUNE to the viruses, right? I mean isn't that the idea of vaccination in the first place?

The only "excuse" I've heard is "well vaccines aren't 100 percent effective".

Well duh. If they have a measles outbreak among vaccinated kids, it seems they are a lot LESS than 100 percent effective. It seems they are not very effective at all.

This year's flu vaccine covered apparently none of the flu's going around. "OOPS" said the manufacturers.

But I've seen that the flu vaccine only seems to cover the prevailent flu about once in every 10 years. I experienced that myself when as a good girl, following my doctor's advice when I was pregnant, I took the flu vaccine that year. I still got the flu which was going around. I decided forget that vaccine and have never taken it again. So when the swine flu vaccine came around which was supposed to "protect us" from the threatened "pandemic", I skipped taking that one too. Good thing, because 40 percent of those who took it, got a serious complication from it, much worse than the flu it was supposed to protect against, like Guillan Barre or "French Polio". And the threatened pandemic like so many of the other "media crisis" never arrived.

So again, why take it especially when it's one of the vaccines that still contains mercury as a preservative?

And really I would like to hear more about how "not completely effective" these vaccines are because today's new born baby has received a bunch of vaccinations before he or she is even 3 months old. And some studies (which the pharmaceuticals have tried to discount) have found a connection between some vaccines like the MMR and autism.

Maybe there are good reasons to take vaccines but it seems that no one is talking to us - except the anti vaccine folks who have come up with some rather good reasons to say "no" to many vaccines.

And to those questioning like myself, seems that the pro vaccine folks ought to be able to answer some of my questions and doubts about vaccines if vaccines are REALLY as great as these folks are claiming.

I do remember when the Salk vaccine came out. We were shown photos of kids from the 1940's in the "iron lung" wards and sufficiently scared about polio. We were never told that modern sanitation and good medical care is all that is needed in most cases to prevent disability.

We knew a post polio guy who was a quadriplegic. One of his Dad's favorite tricks was to stick his head in the toilet where there was usually urine (Mom didn't flush the toilet after going most times). The house they lived in was more than filthy and he surely, an unwanted kid, didn't get much medical care when he GOT the disease.

But frankly I didn't know any kids in any school I went to who got polio. And my mother wisely kept us out of park swimming pools because in the 1950's they didn't know that chlorine didn't work if the water was not of an acid PH.

We just accepted that it was a "grave danger" based on the photos from the 1940's and early 1950's of the "iron lung" wards.

Later on, the Sabin vaccine came out. Our son had that but I had my doubts about it. We knew it caused a certain percentage of cases of polio because it was a "live virus" vaccine. And in the last decade, the Sabin vaccine (taken by mouth) has all but disappeared - why? Because they realized that most of the cases of polio they were seeing in the 1st world were CAUSED by the vaccine.

I do know that if a person wants to keep immune using the vaccine "system" they have to get the full compliment of vaccines every 2 years. And of course, that's something even the pharmaceuticals with heavy duty emotionally based advertising couldn't push down our throats.

But since vaccines have prevented some of us from HAVING those childhood diseases like measles and mumps and German measles which gave us a lifetime immunity, I think many folks are walking around and NOT immune to these diseases (because they are not getting vaccinated every 2 years to keep up their immunity) but in our modern sanitized society, it apparently isn't that much of a danger.

Great sell for the manufacturers, isn't it? Did anyone do the math about the profits on vaccinating babies (breast fed babies are immune and don't need vaccination because the mother's anti bodies are passed through breast milk) and lining up our kids for one time vaccinations? I suspect it even makes the diet industry profits pale by comparison.

Don't get me wrong. I am not against vaccines, but I think if they are so important as the media seems to feel, why can't those folks answer some of my questions better than "well, it's better than nothing" or "well vaccines aren't 100 percent effective". I think if they want us to take these jabs, they should give us better information than that? Unreasonable of me? So bite me! :)