Does Diabetes Affect on Sexual Health in Women?

Diabetes is what stands in between some women and sexually satisfying lives, a survey of more than 2,000 women with and without the condition found.

Diabetes in Women and Sexual Health The reports of researchers at the University of San Francisco show that women who receive insulin treatment to manage their diabetes – a must for all type 1 diabetics and a possible treatment for some people with type 2 – were twice as likely to report dissatisfaction and difficulty achieving orgasm than women without the condition, researchers reported in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Women with diabetes who do not use insulin injections as treatment were 40 percent more likely to report a lackluster love life than women without the disease. The study did not suss out type 1 versus type 2 diabetics, but because of the average age of diabetes diagnoses, which was not noted in the study, researchers assumed most patients to have type 2.

The biggest problems for insulin-treated diabetic women are a lack of natural lubrication and difficulty reaching orgasm, two factors likely brought on by diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage that occurs due to poor blood-sugar control. Senior author Alison J. Huang, MD, MAS, of the UCSF Women’s Health Clinical Research Center mentioned in a release that this is perhaps the most common sexual side effect in women with the disease. Additional diabetic complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and renal dysfunction can also hamper a healthy sex life.

Type 2 Diabetes and Sexual Health

According to the American Diabetes Association reports, more than 12.5 million women or 10.8 percent of all women over age 20 have some type of diabetes. Researchers also said that with this staggeringly high number signifies, more needs to be done to address the sexual health of women with the disease.

“Based on this research, clinicians may want to consider assessing diabetic women for sexual problems, particularly among those taking insulin,” said lead author Kelli Copeland in a release.

There is a well-established link between diabetes and erectile dysfunction in men due to nerve damage. Diabetic nerve damage typically occurs in the hands and feet, but it can also affect sexual organs, researchers say. For women, the dryness caused by nerve damage can often be treated with a little over-the-counter lubricant. If men have problems with erectile dysfunction due to nerve damage, they should talk to their doctor or diabetes educator about treatments, which can include oral or injectable medications, penile implants, or even surgery.

A breakthrough discovery that points way toward Diabetes Cure

That is the researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have identified the key signal that prompts production of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This finding will help the researchers identify restore or increase beta cell function in people with type 1 diabetes.

Professor Yuval Dor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

After many years, recently the studying work conducted by Prof. Yuval Dor of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada of the Hebrew University, researchers from the Hadassah University Medical Center and researchers from the diabetes section of the Roche pharmaceuticals company was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

“Our work shows that as the glucose level is increased in the blood, it tells the beta cells to regenerate,” says Dor. “It’s not blood glucose per se that is the signal, but the glucose-sensing capacity of the beta cell that’s the key for regeneration.” The discovery is that the high level of glucose can be the “trigger” that induces beta cells to regenerate was shown for the first time.

For type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, the insulin producing cells may be decrease and eventually lose its function as the immune system sends a misguided attack on them, resulting in lack of insulin. Consequently, the body’s cells cannot absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood, leaving the body’s cells and tissues starved for energy. That’s why people with the disease must inject insulin and monitor their blood glucose levels diligently every day. To cure type 1 diabetes, developing methods to increase beta cell replication and mass, hence the potential therapeutic importance of the current study becomes essential.

Dor and his associates of the Hadassah University Medical Center used a genetic system to destroy 80 percent of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreases of adult mice, rendering the mice diabetic.

Then the comparing results between these mice and control mice showed that those mice with diabetes and elevated blood glucose levels had regenerated a greater number of new beta cells than mice without diabetes, suggesting that glucose may be a key player in beta cell regeneration. But the researchers further found that a glucose-sensing enzyme in the cells, glucokinase, is the key molecule that triggers the beta cell regeneration.

“This means that the more work that beta cells are required to do (that is, the more ‘stressed’ they are), the more of themselves they make,” said graduate student Shay Porat, who, along with fellow graduate student Noa Weinberg, spearheaded the study, which was funded with the support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). .

Because this study showed that regeneration depends on glucokinase levels, the finding may pave the way for developing a new kind of drug to adjust glucokinase or other stages in the glucose-sensing pathway to direct beta cells down the path of regeneration and replication.

And, should a mechanism be discovered that prevents the immune system from attacking beta cells in the first place, as occurs among diabetics, the combined treatment could help pave the way towards a full cure for type 1 diabetes.

Further study in this area is proceeding, with the eventual goal of progressing towards human clinical trials.

Working Night Shifts May Raise Diabetes Risk for Women

MONDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) — Women who often work at night may face higher odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

The study, which focused only on women, found that the effect got stronger as the number of years spent in shift work rose, and remained even after researchers accounted for obesity.

“Our results suggest that women have a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus after extended period of shift work, and this association appears to be largely mediated through BMI [weight],” concluded a team led by An Pan, a researcher in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

His team was slated to present its findings Sunday in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.

Prior studies have suggested that working nights disrupts circadian (day/night) rhythms, and such work has long been associated with obesity, the cluster of cardiovascular risk factors known as the “metabolic syndrome,” and dysregulation of blood sugar.

In the new study, researchers looked at data on more than 69,000 U.S. women tracked from 1988 to 2008 as part of the Nurses Health Study. Almost 6,200 women developed type 2 diabetes over the course of the study.

Beginning at their entry into the study, women were asked how long they had worked rotating night shifts (including at least three nights of work per month).

The researchers found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose with increasing duration of shift work. After adjusting for obesity, women who’d worked night shifts regularly for three to nine years faced a 6 percent rise in risk, while women who had done so for 10 to 19 years saw their risk rise by 9 percent, and those who had worked such shifts for 20 years or more faced a 20 percent increase in risk.

Weight gain accounted for some, but not all, of the night shift-linked rise in diabetes risk, the team noted.

Experts note that research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Find out more on reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

– HealthDay Staff

SOURCE: American Diabetes Association, news release, June 26, 2011

Last Updated: June 27, 2011

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

105 Million in U.S. Have Diabetes or Prediabetes, CDC Says

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes now affects nearly 26 million Americans of all ages and 79 million people have what doctors call “prediabetes,” according to 2011 estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obesity, changes in diagnostic criteria may be behind soaring rates.

Prediabetes, which the CDC says affects 35 percent of adults, is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes greatly boosts a person’s odds for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The vast majority of cases of diabetes are type 2, which develops when the body’s cells gradually lose sensitivity to insulin.

According to experts, there’s one very big reason for type 2 diabetes’ continuing rise among Americans — weight gain.

“The percentage of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese has also risen dramatically, and there is no doubt that rising rates of obesity are linked to the rising rates of diabetes,” said Dr. Christine Resta, an expert on diabetes in the division of endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.

But changes in the way doctors diagnose the illness may have played a role in rising numbers, too, another expert said.

“One of the reasons the incidence of diabetes has been increasing in the last few years is because the American Diabetes Association lowered the guidelines for diabetes diagnosis,” explained Dr. Jacob Warman, chief of endocrinology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. “Last year, the ADA recommended using [hemoglobin] A1c levels to diagnose both diabetes and prediabetes. This change in criteria resulted in a great increase of the number of patients with this diagnosis. The decision to change the criteria remains controversial, but the guidelines to increase exercise and decrease carbohydrate intake are valid.”

In their report, the CDC agreed that the switch to hemoglobin A1c testing — which measures levels of blood glucose (sugar) over a period of two to three months — could help account for at least some of the rising numbers.

But the CDC’s National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011 also notes that about 27 percent of Americans with diabetes, or about 7 million people, still do not know they have the disease. Among the other data included in the fact sheet:

  • About 1.9 million American adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes rates continue to soar among racial and ethnic minorities. Among adults, diabetes rates were about 16 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 12.6 percent for blacks, nearly 12 percent for Hispanics, 8.4 percent for Asian Americans, and just over 7 percent for whites.
  • Half of Americans aged 65 and older have prediabetes and nearly 27 percent have full-blown diabetes.
  • Around 215,000 Americans younger than age 20 have diabetes, including type 1 diabetes.

The 2011 diabetes incidence estimates mark a continued rise. In 2008, for example, the CDC estimated that 23.6 million Americans (7.8 percent) had diabetes and 57 million adults had prediabetes.

Besides the obesity epidemic and the switch to A1c-based diagnosis, the agency said that improvements in diabetes management may mean that many people with the disease are living longer, raising the total number affected.

Still, “these distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness,” Ann Albright, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, said in an agency news release.

“We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes,” she added.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and now costs $174 billion a year, including $116 billion in direct medical expenses, according to the CDC. People with diabetes are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of feet and legs.

“With more patients, there are more costs. But even the cost per patient has gone up,” Resta said. “Newer diabetes medications are expensive, often 10 times the cost of older generic medicines. When patients are diagnosed younger, they are more likely to eventually require multiple diabetes medications, which also drives up costs. Also, the longer the duration of diabetes, the more likely the patient is to have [expensive] complications.”

If current trends continue, as many as one in three American adults could have diabetes by 2050, predicted a CDC study published last year.

More information

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion outlines how you can prevent diabetes.

SOURCES: Jacob Warman, M.D., chief, endocrinology, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Christine Resta, M.D., division of endocrinology, Maimonides Medical Center, New York City; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Jan. 26, 2011

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Breast Cancer Patients With Diabetes May Fare Worse

THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) — Having both breast cancer and diabetes greatly increases the chances of dying, new research shows.

Having both diseases greatly increases the chances of dying, review finds.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis, or pooled analysis, of previously published studies that looked at how breast cancer patients with diabetes fared.

Six of seven studies found pre-existing diabetes was associated with significantly higher long-term, all-cause mortality. Specifically, the studies showed breast cancer patients with diabetes were nearly 50 percent more likely to die than those who didn’t have diabetes.

But much remains unknown, the study authors said, noting that it was premature to conclude that diabetes prevention or improved blood glucose control would lead to a better prognosis. The data didn’t look at the specific causes of death, nor does the research establish whether having diabetes actually caused more breast cancer deaths.

“It’s basically a signal that there may be a stronger association between diabetes and breast cancer mortality than we have appreciated,” said lead study author Dr. Kimberly Peairs, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “The next step is to determine if there is causality between diabetes and breast cancer mortality.”

The study, supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, is published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The reason why breast cancer patients with diabetes are more likely to do poorly isn’t known, but several studies in the meta-analysis offer some clues.

One study, for example, found that women with type 2 diabetes tended to have their breast cancer diagnosed later than those without diabetes.

Women with pre-existing diabetes may also be sicker overall than women without diabetes. That may make them less able to handle the harsh chemotherapy drugs, or may prompt doctors to treat their cancer less aggressively because of concerns about their overall health, Peairs said.

One study the team reviewed showed that women with diabetes had more adverse events from chemotherapy, while another demonstrated that women with diabetes tended to receive less aggressive treatment, Peairs said.

There could also be a biological cause for the increased mortality risk. High levels of insulin may stimulate tumor growth, said Dr. Julia Smith, director of the breast cancer screening and prevention program at NYU Cancer Institute.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin, leading to rising blood sugar levels as well as more insulin circulating throughout the body.

“Insulin regulation, obesity and diabetes [are] critical in general health,” Smith said. “I can’t conclude that controlling insulin will modify anything about breast cancer, but it tells us we should be looking in those areas and there may be something very important.”

About 24 million U.S. residents, or 8 percent of the adult population, had diabetes in 2007, according to background information in the article. Prior research also shows that diabetics are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Women should seek to maintain a body mass index of about 25, limit consumption of animal fats, and exercise to prevent diabetes and reduce cancer risk, Smith said.

And women who already have diabetes should make sure they are controlling it, while oncologists and physicians treating patients with diabetes should make sure they are coordinating care, Peairs noted.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more on living with diabetes.

SOURCES: Kimberly S. Peairs, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Julia A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., director, breast cancer screening and prevention program, NYU Cancer Institute, New York City; January 2011, Journal of Clinical Oncology

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Preventing Kidney Health from Diabetes

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your kidneys. Your kidneys are filters that clean your blood. If they are damaged, waste and fluids build up in your blood instead of leaving your body.

Kidney damage from diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. It begins long before you have symptoms. An early sign of it is small amounts of protein in your urine. A urine test can detect it. A blood test can also help determine how well your kidneys are working.

If the damage continues, your kidneys could fail. In fact, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. People with kidney failure need either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

So, if you have diabetes, there are certain steps you can take to protect your kidneys:

  • Maintain tight control of blood sugar by monitoring regularly
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Get prompt treatment for any urinary tract infections
  • Avoid medications with the potential to damage kidneys — these include many over-the-counter pain-relief drugs
  • Avoid a high-protein diet, because too much protein can be harmful to someone with CKD

Although diabetes puts you at risk of kidney problems over time, the best defense is to maintain strong control of your diabetes and follow all of your doctor’s treatment and diet recommendations.

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