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The Mediterranean diet and the prevention of diabetes

In the 1950s, the relationship between dietary habits and cardiovascular disease was explored for the first time in an epidemiological study: the Seven Countries Study, which is considered a milestone of research in cardiology and nutrition. It was found that cardiovascular disease was 50% less common in the populations living in the Mediterranean area than in those living in northern Europe or the USA. The marked difference in the diets of the respective populations largely accounted for this disparity in rates of cardiovascular disease. In this article, Gabriele Riccardi

Therapeutic diabetes education: the Cuban experience

Cuba is a small island country in the Caribbean with 11 million inhabitants. As in other countries, diabetes is a major challenge to health in Cuba. In order to reduce the health and economic impact of diabetes and improve the quality of life of people with the condition, a country-wide diabetes education programme began development over 30 years ago, linking and promoting optimum care and education. Rosario García and Rolando Suárez report on the achievements of the programme and highlight the central role of diabetes education over three decades of care initiatives in Cuba.

Diabetes education in Africa: what we need to know

Education is the cornerstone of diabetes care and management. Yet while many health-care professionals subscribe to this idea, it is not applied universally. In developing countries in particular, much work remains to be done in order to improve the content, structure and provision of diabetes education. Margueritte de Clerck looks at education needs in Africa and makes some recommendations on the role and responsibilities of fellow health-care professionals, particularly those who work in low-income countries.

Childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes: a growing public health challenge in UAE

In the oil-exporting Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the economic growth and development of the past three decades have been dramatic. This socio-economic progress has brought benefits to many people in the region, such as improved access to health care, education, and safe drinking water. However, economic development has set the scene for the

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.

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