Nov
01
2008

Pills For Diabetes Not Always Useful

Oral anti-diabetic drugs have been on the market for decades. They are often prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes in an effort to control blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes patients, those who suffer from diabetes since childhood, generally require a different therapeutic approach. They receive insulin in the form of injections, or more recently by pump. The usefulness of the oral antidiabetic drugs has been researched by Elizabeth Sevin, PhD,MPH of John Hopkins Blomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. Pooled data analysis found that patients who took one of the older medications, metformin, were at a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular illness. Metformin works by blocking the breakdown of glycogen (a storage form of sugar) in the liver, reduces absorption of sugar from the gut and increases insulin sensitivity thus controlling blood sugar more tightly. This protected the heart from cardiovascular illness. None of the other oral medications for type 2 diabetes was significantly linked to cardiovascular illness, but cardiovascular disease and mortality was higher in the patient group that took the drug rosiglitazone.

Pills For Diabetes Not Always Useful

How metformin works for type 2 diabetes

Due to the controversial reports about this drug, the researchers took a closer look at all the other oral anti-diabetic medications. None of them, not even the newest ones, proved to be superior, and the only one that showed a slight benefit was metformin. The author cautions that the association is too weak to be of significance, and a lot more long-term research would be needed to substantiate the benefits for cardiovascular protection.

More information on Diabetes: http://nethealthbook.com/hormones/diabetes/type-2-diabetes/

Comments on Nov. 18, 2012: I do not see any further benefit for more research on oral anti-diabetic agents. Rather this type of research would indicate that subcutaneous insulin treatment 3 or 4 times per day as originally suggested by Banting and Best is still the best treatment for diabetes coupled with an exercise program and a low fat, low glycemic carbohydrate diet.

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:2070-2080

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014

Nov
01
2008

Low Testosterone And Heart Disease

More men than women seem to be affected by cardiovascular illness, and the reasons have been manifold. At one time work stress was cited for the prevalence of heart disease in men. Other lifestyle factors, lack of exercise, being overweight, poor dietary choices and smoking have been found to play significant roles. The risk for cardiovascular disease increases with age, as does the likelihood for hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels and glucose intolerance.

Some attention has been paid to the fact that hormones can also play a role, and research has now shown that testosterone has some direct cardiovascular effects. Testosterone has been found to dilate blood vessels. The effect can be likened to the calcium channel blocker Nifedipine. It has also been substantiated that males with coronary artery disease and heart failure tend to have low levels of testosterone. If testosterone deficient men receive replacement therapy, vasodilatation (dilation of blood vessels) has been demonstrated in males who have received testosterone replacement for a few months. Male hormone replacement therapy has also been found to relieve the symptoms of angina in patients with heart failure. The question, how testosterone fits into the concept of disease prevention, comes up in this context. Researchers have found enough evidence that a low testosterone blood level has an independent association with accelerated atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

Low Testosterone And Heart Disease

Testosterone in men prevents heart disease

Animal experiments have shown that the development of fatty streaks in blood vessels happens at a higher rate in castrated animals. The more encouraging finding is the fact that this condition is reversible by replacement of testosterone. Male hormone therapy has received a lot of bad press in the case of overtreatment with androgens to achieve muscle growth in body building. However, in this case there was no testosterone deficiency and athletes and their coaches were using doses that were too high. This type of administration entails grave health risks and has nothing to do with good medicine. In case of hormone deficiency replacement the normal body function of a younger male is restored with bioidentical testosterone, which can be a tool to better health for the aging male. Anti-aging physicians are very familiar with this treatment modality.

More on the heart vessel protecting effect of bio-identical hormones:

http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-the-missing-link-between-strokes-and-heart-attacks/

Journal of Men’s Health – Volume 5, Issue Suppl (September 2008)

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014