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The Signal System: an empowering tool for healthy food choices

If the growing burden of obesity-driven type 2 diabetes is to be stabilized or reduced, the general public must receive adequate information about healthy eating. However, non-compliance with nutrition advice continues to hamper diabetes care. When it is available, this advice is traditionally given in standardized 24-hour menus as a list of ‘don’ts’. People are asked to keep a running count of the carbohydrates or calories they consume throughout the day. It is therefore not surprising that nutrition advice is perceived by many as being difficult to follow;

Achieving excellence in diabetes foot care: one step at a time

By the time you finish reading this paragraph, it is likely that at least one person has lost part of a foot or leg through diabetic foot disease. This happens every 30 seconds. An amputation is often preceded by an ulcer; 15% of people with diabetes are affected by a foot ulcer at some time in their life. With the global diabetes population set to rise to 333 million by 2025, there is an urgent need for a co-ordinated preventive clinical response to reduce the impact of the diabetic foot.

Diabetes in people with HIV

It is estimated that over 39 million people worldwide are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The introduction of protease inhibitors as part of the anti-HIV therapy has contributed to a huge reduction in the number of people who die from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, the use of these drugs has been associated with new-onset diabetes; recent studies have

Diabetes care in China: meeting the challenge

In both human and economic terms, diabetes is becoming one of the most serious and costly health conditions worldwide. Economic development, bringing changes from a traditional to a modernized lifestyle, is driving a huge increase in the number of people with obesity-related type 2 diabetes in China. The extraordinary size of the problem is worrying; if current trends continue, diabetes will become a massive health burden in China. In this article, Changyu Pan looks at the status of diabetes care in China and highlights the need for regional and national initiatives to

Blood fats: a toxic meal-time tide

Eating is a pleasant necessity for most of us. We eat our food, the gastro-intestinal tract (gut) directs nutrients to the blood stream, and excess energy is stored for later use. Much of what is known about the mechanisms that regulate these processes has been learned from diabetes research. Because diabetes has always been regarded as a disease of glucose metabolism, the research has been focussed on the intake and processing of glucose. Jacqueline Dekker looks at the role of fats (lipids) in the processes that give rise to diabetes-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Blood glucose levels after meals: all important?

While it is known that people with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the factors which contribute to this state are not fully understood. In this article, Antonio Ceriello examines the importance of the post-meal functioning of the body in the development of heart disease.

How does smoking affect insulin sensitivity?

It is well known that tobacco smoke is harmful to health and is of particular danger to people with diabetes. All of the chronic complications of diabetes – such as cardiovascular disease, foot problems, kidney disease, and eye damage – are exacerbated by breathing in tobacco smoke. Recently, it was suggested that smoking may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, it has been suggested that impaired sensitivity to the action of insulin in people who smoke tobacco could be linked to

Cause as well as effect: smoking and diabetes

People who smoke tobacco are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Tobacco use contributes to the risk of all the major types of cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attack, stroke and the blockage of blood vessels in the lower limbs. People with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, are also at high risk for

Enhancing diabetes education and awareness using limited resources

In his Nobel Prize lecture, the writer VS Naipaul described from the point of view of a boy of Indian origin born in Trinidad in the 1930’s the ethnic and cultural diversity of this small southern Caribbean island state. In this culturally rich but challenging setting, with few available resources, diabetes educators have made significant advances in facilitating diabetes education in Trinidad and Tobago and in raising awareness of the condition countrywide. Zobida Ragbirsingh reports.

Improving psycho-social care: the Indian experience

The number of people with diabetes in the Indian subcontinent has been increasing dramatically: approximately 30-33 million people have diabetes in India and this number could double by 2025. Compared to other ethnic groups, Indians have a high risk of developing diabetes. However, the impact of psycho-social factors related to diabetes care has also contributed to the growing pandemic.

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