Imagine a medical condition that opens the door to a wide range of chronic health problems, leaving you vulnerable to cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney failure. The condition is type 2 diabetes, and it currently claims about 16 million Americans. That’s the combined populations of Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Connecticut.Cardio stress
Investigating the relationship between TZDs and the development of pulmonary edema (PE) and congestive heart failure (CHF), researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center examined the medical records of six diabetes patients admitted to the hospital suffering from symptoms of PE and CHF. Five of the subjects had been treated with TZD drugs pioglitazone or rosiglitazone.Behavior modified More to come
Unfortunately, too many doctors respond to patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the only way they know how: they medicate. As a result, as many as six million type 2 diabetics are taking drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZDs) that improve insulin sensitivity. Now a new study shows that this class of drugs may sharply increase the risk of pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure.
Fortunately, most of those six million may be able to successfully address their diabetes without using any drugs at all.
In all five cases, the threat of heart failure subsided quickly after the discontinuation of the TZD treatment, which had no permanent effect on cardiac function. Based on this small but conclusive trial, the authors of the study state that “thiazolidinediones can cause pulmonary edema or exacerbate heart failure.” They also state that TZDs should be avoided by patients with kidney disease or left ventricular dysfunction of the heart.
Obviously, further examination of the relationship between TZDs and heart failure is called for. Until then, this is a study that every one of those six million pioglitazone and rosiglitazone users needs to be aware of.
Most cases of type 2 diabetes are the result of poor diet and insufficient exercising habits that catch up with us as we age. Fortunately, the insulin resistance that triggers type 2 diabetes can often be reversed by modifying the diet and beginning a regular exercise program.
In the e-Alert “Common Sense Approach To Treating Type II Diabetes” (2/13/02), I told you about a New England Journal of Medicine study involving more than 3,200 adults (average age was 51) who were diagnosed with pre-diabetic elevated glucose levels. Subjects were divided into three groups: one group received a daily dose of Glucophage (the brand name of metformin); one group received a daily placebo; and one group participated in an intensive program with a goal of at least 7 percent weight loss through diet adjustment, two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week, and educational sessions to reinforce behavior modification.
After following these subjects for an average of almost 3 years, the researchers found that Glucophage reduced the incidence of diabetes by about 30 percent versus placebo, but lifestyle changes slashed the incidence rate by more than HALF – a full 58 percent. Plus, patients in the Glucophage group had six times more gastrointestinal side effects than those in the exercise and diet group.
Because type 2 diabetes increases the risk of so many health problems, the last thing a diabetic needs are the potential side effects that come with the use of any synthetic drug. In an upcoming e-Alert I’ll tell you about a natural botanical and two vitamin supplements that have been shown to help type 2 diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels and protect the health of their kidneys. But it’s clear from everything we know that changes in diet and exercise are the best medicine for most type 2 diabetics.
To Your Good Healthand, oh, yeahGo Ravens!
Jenny Thompson Health Sciences Institute
“Thiazolidinedione-Associated Congestive Heart Failure and Pulmonary Edema” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, September 2003, Vol. 78, Pg. 1088, mayo.edu
“Do Thiazolidinediones Cause Congestive Heart Failure?” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, September 2003, Vol. 78, Pg. 1077, mayo.edu
“Diabetes Drugs Can Cause Heart Failure” Dr. Joseph Mercola, 9/24/03, mercola.com
“Two Commonly Prescribed Diabetes Drugs May Cause Heart Failure And Fluid Buildup” University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 9/9/03, sciencedaily.com