Diabetes and Heart Disease
Get it Under Control – Glucose, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol in Diabetes
Do you have diabetes? Are you having trouble getting or keeping your glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol under control? Maybe it’s time you had a talk…with your primary care physician (PCP). According to a study released in Diabetes Care, a face-to-face lifestyle counseling session once or more per month may help bring faster results.
The study looked back at medical records for 30,897 diabetics over an average of seven years. Researchers tracked glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels with any type of lifestyle counseling that addressed diet, exercise, and/or weight management. People in the study who had a counseling session once or more per month were able to lower A1C (a blood sugar test) to the desired level below 7.0 percent in only three and a half months. It took almost two years for those who saw their PCP less than once every six months to reach desired levels. Blood pressure also fell under 130/85 in less than four weeks compared to six months. LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, dropped to desired levels below 100 mg/dl in three and a half months versus 24.7 months.
Just one extra monthly chat with the PCP meant the patient was 1.7 times more likely to get their A1C under control. Nine in 10 patients with monthly visits were able to reach target levels in all three areas, compared to less than a third who saw their PCP less than once every six months. It wasn’t enough to just go in for a blood test or a prescription refill, so bring up the topic of diet, exercise and weight if your doctor doesn’t.
If you’re having a hard time getting your glucose, blood pressure or cholesterol under control:
- Make an appointment with your PCP and follow-up monthly until you reach your goal.
- Ask your PCP to include lifestyle counseling with each visit.
- If your PCP doesn’t have time to talk about diet, exercise or weight, ask to speak with the nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or to be referred to a registered dietitian or exercise expert.
- Check out the North Texas chapter of the American Diabetes Association (http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/local-offices/dallas-texas/) for more local resources on classes, support groups and clinics.
Morrison F, Shubina M, Turchin A. Lifestyle counseling in routine care and long-term glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol control in patients with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(2):334-341.
Author: Darienne Hall, Master in Clinical Nutrition Student, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Editor: Lona Sandon, M.Ed., R.D., Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Edited by: Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, LD, Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern
Lower Your Blood Pressure With Whole-grains
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Tighe and others has shown that three daily portions of whole grain foods could help lower blood pressure. Healthy middle-aged adults were randomly selected and divided into three groups. One group received a refined diet, another group ate only whole-grain wheat, and the third group ate whole-grain wheat and oats three times per day. After 12 weeks, the groups that ate whole-grains had lower blood pressure.
Here are some easy tips to help you add more whole grains to your meal:
- Choose oatmeal, whole grain cereal, bagels, or waffles to start your day
- Buy only 100 percent whole grain breads
- Switch your pasta to whole grain
- Swap out white rice for brown rice instead
- Snack on whole grain foods such as whole grain crackers or popcorn
- Bake using whole grain flour
- Look for the words “whole grain” on food labels, and at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving
Tighe P, Duthie G, Vaughan N, et al. Effect of increased consumption of whole-grain foods on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk markers in healthy middle-aged persons: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92:733-740.
Author: Nada Shabana, Nutrition Student
Edited by: Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern and American Dietetic Association Spokesperson
Posted: July 11, 2011