Break the link between diabetes and cancer



Diabetes. We know many of you get anxious about it because it can lead to heart attack, blindness, gastrointestinal problems, depression, kidney dysfunction and chronic neuropathy. We know you wish you didn’t have to deal with it. That may be why almost half of you fail to meet your blood sugar control goals, which could help you dodge those complications.

But Type 2 diabetes is a reality for 31 million U.S. citizens (over 7.2 million are not yet diagnosed!). There also are 84 million folks with prediabetes (which has its own serious health risks), and one-third of them will develop full-blown Type 2. If you’re in one of those groups, listen up! The way to check diabetes off your worry list is to face it down and beat it — and you can!

Here’s a little fuel:


If dodging blindness, dementia, heart attack, stroke and nerve pain aren’t incentive enough to get you to make the lifestyle adjustments and take the medications that can prevent, control and even reverse Type 2 diabetes, a new study ups the ante. A global review by the George Institute for Global Health involving almost 20 million people found that having diabetes significantly raises the risk of developing cancer, and for women the increased risk is especially elevated.


Women with diabetes are 27 percent more likely to develop any form of cancer than women without diabetes; for men with diabetes the risk is 19 percent higher. In addition, compared to men with diabetes, women’s risk of kidney cancer is 11 percent higher, oral cancer is 13 percent higher, stomach cancer 14 percent higher and leukemia 15 percent higher.

Why are women more vulnerable?

The researchers theorize it may be that women remain prediabetic with impaired glucose tolerance two years longer on average than men. Also, they’re often undertreated when first symptomatic, are less likely to receive intensive care and are not taking the same levels of medications as men.

And for both men and women, what is the connection between diabetes and cancer? Apparently, elevated blood glucose contributes to DNA damage and those genetic mutations fuel cancer. Yikes!

If you have been told you have prediabetes or you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you can reverse and control your condition!

For prediabetes, lifestyle upgrades can reduce your risk of developing full-blown diabetes by 58 percent; medications are successful only about 31 percent of the time! And for those with full-blown Type 2 diabetes, at Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, 60 percent of folks who follow an intensive treatment program can achieve and maintain an A1C of 5 to 5.8 percent (that’s a measure of your average blood glucose levels over time and a sign of being nondiabetic).


So, now’s the time to:

Aim to lose 7 percent of your body weight.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, walk 30 minutes a day now (it cuts your risk of developing full-blown diabetes by 30 percent) and work up to 10,000 steps a day (that’s the magic number that breaks down insulin resistance in leg muscles). If you already have diabetes, multiple studies find that regular exercise can reduce glucose levels significantly, as well as the need for medications.

Don’t stop with walking. Do strength/muscle building exercises two days a week for 20-30 minutes.

Turn off the tube, or watch TV while on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. Sitting and watching two hours of television daily raises your risk of developing diabetes by 23 percent!

Eat seven to nine servings of veggies and fruit daily; ditch all red and processed meats and added sugars and eliminate exposure to plastics made with BPA and BPS (don’t use containers marked with the recycle numbers 1, 3, 6 or 7).

If those steps can help you prevent, reverse or control diabetes and dodge cancer, that’s a double benefit! You can do it!

Jerky 101

It’s been around for centuries (the Conquistadors called the Incas’ dried, smoked llama “charqui,” from their word “ch’arki”; in North America, it became “jerky”). But lately it’s gotten a bigger spotlight — and what Johns Hopkins researchers have brought into focus will jerk you to attention.

Many processed meats, including most jerky, bacon, hot dogs, salami and sausages, are preserved with nitrates. The Hopkins scientists’ first study with mice found that after a few weeks on a diet laced with added nitrates, the animals developed manic hyperactivity. That got the researchers wondering about the chemical’s effect on human behavior.

So their recent study looked at 1,000 people with and without psychiatric disorders. It showed that over a 10-year period, those folks who had been hospitalized for mania were 3.5 times more likely to have eaten cured meats as the group without a psychiatric disorder. One theory: The nitrates alter gut bacteria and that affects neurotransmitters (they’re not just in your brain), leading to changes in mood, perception and behavior.

We’ve long warned you off processed meat, because studies linked nitrates to some cancers, and the meats’ fat content is heart-stopping. Now, another reason to dodge added nitrates: they’ll jerk your mood around.

Q: We bought a new house with a nice front and back yards. My husband is excited about cutting the lawn and is off buying a new push mower. I don’t want him cutting off his foot. Should I be concerned?

Abigail N., Catskill, N.Y.

A: No and yes. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since their federal safety standards for power mowers were instituted back in 1982, the number of annual lawn mower injuries has been reduced by half. However, even though lawn mowers are much safer now (make sure your husband buys one that says “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements”), injuries still happen.

A new study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that lawn mower injuries continue to send more than 80,000 Americans to the emergency department every year.

The most common type of lawn mower-inflicted injury is, of course, laceration. So remember:

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand suggests wearing gloves, goggles and hearing protection when you mow. And always wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes.

Don’t cut the grass when wet. Wet clippings clog the blades and the discharge chute, and that’s typically when hands reach in.

Clear the yard of potential flying objects, such as branches, stones and other debris before you mow.

The No. 2 cause of mower moaning? Muscle sprain or strain. So, make sure the mower stays hydrated, maybe do runner’s stretches before mowing, and take a break every 20 to 30 minutes. Not being fatigued will reduce your chance of other injuries, too.

Whenever you mow, wear long pants tucked into your socks, and spray them with DEET to ward off tick and mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that disease cases from insect bites increased from more than 27,000 in 2014, to 96,075 in 2016.

Q: I just read that female high school athletes have fewer injuries when their schools have an athletic trainer. My daughter goes to a small local high school, plays soccer and basketball, and we don’t have one. What does it take or how much does it cost to recruit an athletic trainer?

Beth A., West Lafayette, Ind.

A: First of all, if you are in the market for athletic trainers, make sure you interview and hire only those who are board certified. That means that they have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, passed the BOC (Board of Certification) exam and are a member of the National Athletic Training Association. At the high school level, a certified AT earns between $40,000 and $65,000 per year. They more than earn their keep with the number of injuries they help prevent.

A recent study found that recurrent injury rates were six times higher on girls’ soccer teams and nearly three times higher among girls’ basketball teams in schools without ATs. Furthermore, girls’ high school sports that have an AT on the coaching staff have fewer overall injuries, reduced recurrent injury rates and superior identification and management of athletes’ concussions.

As NATA explains, certified ATs “are licensed health care professionals who work with coaches and athletes to apply evidence-based injury prevention strategies, and they are able to recognize and manage injuries when they happen, which may reduce severity or complications.” Plus, when kids are well-trained, they’re in better shape and they compete better. Translation: Healthy teams win more, and athletic kids who get good training can keep playing for a lifetime.

If your daughter’s school budget is an issue, here’s an idea (everyone across the country can try the same kind of solution). Purdue University’s Department of Health and Kinesiology is in your town. They teach undergraduates to become athletic trainers, public health specialists, and health and fitness providers. See if you can work something out with an internship program that would give college students (supervised by a certified professional from the college) work experience and help protect your daughter and her teammates at the same time.


Contact Drs. Oz and Roizen at youdocsdaily@sharecare.com.



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