Osteoporosis – weight, calcium and more

Osteoporosis affects at least 2 million Canadians and is often considered a women’s condition, but one-third of all cases are in men.

And, men suffer a higher mortality rate after a hip fracture than women: 37% die within 12 months versus 20% of women! Medical authorities believe men ignore their risk for osteoporosis and delay seeking medical intervention until the condition is well-advanced. The fact is, 1 in 5 men over 50 years of age will have a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

Happiness & bone density!

More research is looking at ͞happiness͟ as a risk factor for health – or, more accurately, lack of happiness! Now, positive assessments of well-being have been associated with stronger bones. An analysis of more than 2000 women over 10 years found that those who rated life as satisfying on a 4-point scale had more bone density, both at baseline and the end of the study. They also had less morbidity and used less medications than the dissatisfied group!

Weight – find the balance

Both weight loss AND weight gain have been associated with osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. In a review of over 120,000 post-menopausal women, weight changes of more than 5% were considered. Unintentional weight loss increased the risk of hip and spine fractures, while intentional weight loss seemed to decrease hip fractures but increase lower limb fracture. Weight gain was associated with an increased risk of upper and lower limb fractures. Interesting!

More on calcium use

Recent evidence has suggested a need to be more cautious in calcium supplementation due to possible kidney stones or cardiac issues, but now a systematic review is questioning calcium guidelines – both from supplements and dietary sources. The findings suggest that the current recommendation of 1200mg/day does not have any effect on bone density or fracture risk. No one is suggesting changes just yet, though, as the results were not universal. Stay tuned!

November is Osteoporosis Awareness Month. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density that increases the risk of debilitating bone fractures. Talk to your pharmacist about what you can do to improve your bone health.

Diabetes – risks and new treatments

More than 9 million Canadians have diabetes

It impacts everyone directly or indirectly. The prevalence of diabetes makes it the subject of much study – the search is constant for better ways to prevent and treat it. One significant risk of some diabetes therapies is hypoglycemia, a dangerously low level of blood glucose. Researchers have found that a drug used to treat asthma, formoterol, can reduce hypoglycemia and they theorize it may have a role to play in diabetes management. Watch for more info to come!

Drug combo may halt Type 1 diabetes

While Type 2 diabetes (T2D) gets plenty of attention due to its prevalence, Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects more than 300,000 Canadians. It is thought to be an auto-immune condition where the cells producing insulin are destroyed. A study is underway to examine a combination of two drugs, cyclosporine and omeprazole, in the hopes that they may work together to halt the immune system attack and regenerate the necessary beta cells. Fingers crossed!

Bionic pancreas – not fiction

Several clinical trials are underway to test the effectiveness of a so-called “bionic” pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that functions to secrete insulin in response to blood glucose levels. The device is capable of measuring blood glucose and delivering insulin and glucagon in response to the levels it reads. So far, the device is performing very well in ͞real world͟ situations and, while not a cure, could be a safer treatment. It may hit the market as early as 2018.

Insulin pumped!

Modifications to current insulin pump delivery systems are being tested for value. The changes made to current insulin pumps involve ͞closing the loop͟ between blood glucose levels and insulin delivered. Carbohydrate-counting and bolus doses are still required, but the device has performed well for as long as three months and it’s expected that it could come to the market soon since it is based on existing technology.

Diabetes needs to be taken seriously as the consequences and complications are serious. Lifestyle plays a huge role in its development and management. Are you at risk? See www.take2minutes.ca and find out, or talk with your pharmacist.

Diabetes and sugar – the realities!

Most people are aware that there’s a relationship between sugar and diabetes

– that diabetics need to limit their caloric intake for better management. However, a comprehensive review has specifically singled-out sugar (especially fructose) added to foods (think: processed foods) as the culprit. Limit sugar to only 5-10% of your caloric intake to reduce diabetes risk as well as the associated morbidities such as kidney failure, blindness and painful neuropathy.

Watch out for added sugar in drinks

Soda pops and juices (usually with added sugars) are commonly known to be high sources of sugary calories. Some people think they are making a better choice with flavoured milk, milkshakes or smoothies. Wrong! The truth is, in spite of some potential nutritional value, the sugars in these drinks still contribute to diabetes. Rule of thumb: try not to drink your calories. Look to water or unsweetened tea or coffee instead.

A tax to promote health?

Due to the mounting evidence that sugar-sweetened beverages are contributing substantially to the diabetes epidemic, the Canadian Diabetes Association is calling for a special tax on these items and wants the funds raised to be used to promote the health of Canadians. Currently, more than one in four Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes – and that number is expected to grow to one in three by the year 2020.

Not all the info is on the label

Nutrition labels on foods are very helpful in assessing the nutritional quality of the food and in managing the intake of specific nutrients. However, current labels only provide information on total sugar content. Since added sugars are emerging as an especially important consideration in health (as opposed to naturally-occurring sugars), there is a call to start providing this information. A single 20-ounce soda contains 130% of the daily recommended intake! November is Diabetes Awareness Month and there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes and better manage diabetes to prevent the gruesome consequences. Talk with your pharmacist or visit: www.diabetes.ca