PDG Don DeVault, R.N., Diabetes Chairperson

Nutrition & Wellness

Good Beverage Options for Diabetics

Our bodies are approximately 66 percent water and it is important for optimal health to stay hydrated. But often times the beverages we drink are not particularly good for our bodies — or our blood sugar levels.

Good Beverage Options for Diabetics
Good Beverage Options for Diabetics - Introduction
Data from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reported by the CDC, shows that adults are getting 33 percent of their calories from added sugars from beverages. And 58 percent of those added sugar calories from beverages are consumed at home. In short, we are drinking a lot of sugary, sweetened beverages at home and could be making wiser choices.

Weight loss lowered health care costs for people with type 2 diabetes

Espeland MA. Diabetes Care. 2014;37:1-7.  

August 22, 2014

Dieting and increasing physical activity can reduce health care costs among overweight people with diabetes, according to study findings published in Diabetes Care.

“Lifestyle interventions promoting weight loss and physical activity and recommended for overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes to improve their health,” Mark A. Espeland, PhD, professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a press release. “This is the first study to show that weight loss can also save money for these individuals by reducing their health care needs and costs.”

Espeland and colleagues evaluated 5,121 obese and overweight people aged 45 to 76 years with type 2 diabetes to determine the impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) compared with diabetes support and education (DSE).

Overall, 15% of participants were overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2) and 22% had class III obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2).

Participants in the ILI group had 11% fewer hospitalizations per year compared with the DSE group (P=.004). Similarly, annual average days in the hospital were 15% lower among the ILI group compared with the DSE group (P=.01) as well as annual rates of rehabilitation/long-term care (P=.05) and home care (P=.001). Prescription medication use was also lower among the ILI group compared with the DSE group (P<.0001).

The annual cost of health care services and medications was 7% less among the ILI group compared with the DSE group (P=.002).

The fewer hospitalizations and shorter hospital stays resulted in an average savings of $5,280 per person health care costs over a 10-year period among the ILI group.

“In conclusion, random assignment of overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes to 10 years of an intensive behavioral intervention that focused on weight loss and increased physical activity resulted in relatively fewer hospitalizations, fewer days in the hospitals and less use of prescription medications,” the researchers wrote. “Cumulatively, these effects resulted in an average annual savings of almost $600 per participant relative to a comparison condition DSE.”

Disclosure: See the full study for a complete list of the researchers’ financial disclosures.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy increased risk for fall

September 18, 2014

Recent data presented at the 50th European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting suggest that patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy are more likely to sway during stair climbing, putting them at a greater risk for falls.

Steven Brown, a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated 22 patients (mean age, 57 years) with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), as well as 40 patients (mean age, 57 years) with diabetes without DPN and 32 healthy controls (mean age, 50 years), to determine mechanisms of unsteadiness among patients with DPN when climbing stairs.

A 10-camera 3-D motion analysis system was used to collect data by reflective markers placed at anatomical locations on the body to calculate whole-body center-of-mass (CoM). Center-of-pressure (CoP) was measured by force platforms mounted on the middle four steps of a seven-step staircase. Patients ascended and descended the staircase at least three times during the study period. The separation between CoM and CoP was used to measure balance in the medial-lateral plane.

There was a significantly higher CoM-CoP separation among the DPN group during stair ascent (P<.01), as well as increased variation in CoM-CoP separation (P<.05), compared with the control group. The same was found during stair descent for the DPN group for higher CoM-CoP separation (P<.05) and CoM-CoP separation variation (P<.01) compared with the control group. There was also a significantly wider stance width among the DPN group compared with the control group during stair descent (P<.05).

No differences were found during stair ascent or descent for the diabetes-only group and control group. “Diabetes patients with peripheral neuropathy display greater extremes in magnitude of medial-lateral sway during stair ascent and descent as well as displaying higher variability during stair ascent and descent,” the researchers concluded. “This indicates that patients with DPM have difficulty regulating control of balance during this challenging task. A large and more variable medial-lateral sway means that patients with DPN are more likely to lose control of balance and experience a fall during what is known to be an activity — using stairs — where the risk of fall is already very high.”

Researchers said they are further investigating different aspects of gait and how diabetes and DPN affects walking on level ground and stairs.

“Many issues that affect balance in patients with DPN stem from deterioration of muscle size and function, so whilst it is not currently possible to positively improve the sensory deterioration, we have been looking at elements that we can positively influence, such as strength training and interventions, to help vision focus and avoidance of obstacles. We are investigating the impact of such interventions and how they might translate to improvements in gait and balance control.”

For more information:

Brown SJ. Abstract #129. Presented at: 50th EASD Annual Meeting; Sept. 16-19, 2014; Vienna.

Disclosure: The study was funded in part by the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes.

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