How Health Officials Accelerated the Diabetes Pandemic

Diabetes has reached crisis levels in the U.S., with 10.5% of Americans affected.1 That data came from 2018 — before the pandemic — and the problem has only worsened since. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017,2 but diabetes deaths surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising 17% in 2020.3 While COVID-19 was a problem — 39.5% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among people with diabetes4 — even diabetics who didn’t get COVID-19 suffered, often falling victim to isolation, social distancing, lack of medical care and fear, instead. Younger people have been disproportionately affected, with diabetes deaths among 25- to 44-year-olds jumping 29% in 2020. Other deaths from everything, excluding COVID-19, rose 6% that year,5 highlighting the dismal public health failure that accelerated the diabetes pandemic. Medical System, Dietary Advice Failing People With Diabetes Even prior to the pandemic, diabetes was on an alarming trajectory that saw hospitalization for hyperglycemic crises increase by 73% from 2009 to 2015. Diabetes deaths rose by 55% during that time.6 Inactivity and poor diet are fueling the diabetes crisis, causing people to develop the condition at younger ages. Diets focused on ultraprocessed foods and fast foods are the root of the problem, as they’re loaded with seed oils — misleadingly known as “vegetable oils” — that contain toxic oxidized omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) that accelerate metabolic dysfunction.7 Yet, the American Diabetes Association continues to recommend seed oils like canola as “part of a healthy, balanced diet.”8 Diabetes is a manageable — and often reversible — condition, provided you make positive lifestyle changes and get proper medical care and advice. However, many people are limited by their insurance plans as to which care providers they can see, and others forgo medical care entirely to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket costs. As it stands, diabetes treatment costs top $230 billion a year in the U.S., yet the diabetes mortality rate is 42% higher than it is in 10 other industrialized countries.9 “The focus in U.S. health care on treating crises over preventing them doesn’t help, downplaying the importance of lifestyle changes that could lessen the severity of the disease,” a Reuters investigation reported. “‘Over and over again, the problem is worse in young adults, and there isn’t improvement in older adults,’ Ed Gregg, a former CDC researcher, told Reuters. ‘The magnitude of the increase has set us back 15 to 20 years.’”10 In fact, in 2020 only accidents and overdose deaths rose faster than diabetes deaths, which beat out Alzheimer’s disease, flu and pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer for the dubious title of fastest-rising deaths.11 Fearful of COVID, People Died of Diabetes Instead The Reuters investigation follows the case of a 42-year-old woman whose death from complications of Type 2 diabetes during the pandemic was the result of isolation and fear. Locked down in her home, fearful of COVID-19, she ordered fast food and lost the motivation to eat better and exercise, and had difficulty getting adequate medical care. Ultimately, “the isolation and the financial and logistical issues proved overwhelming.”12 In another case, a 68-year-old man with Type 2 diabetes had his leg amputated after avoiding medical care for a chronic sore out of fear of COVID-19. These stories aren’t unique. Sandra Arevalo, director of community and patient education at Montefiore Hospital in Nyack, New York, told Reuters that diabetes deaths, amputations and intensive care admissions had plagued several patients she knew of after they delayed medical care during the pandemic. “The diagnosis was uncontrolled diabetes, but it was caused by COVID fear. COVID caused more damage than we realized,” Arevalo said13 Giuseppina Imperatore, with the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, also told Reuters that “the impact of the COVID pandemic on people with diabetes cannot be overstated.”14 Diabetes Cases Tripled Among Youth in 2020 Young people are also suffering. Among 8- to 20-year-olds, Type 2 diabetes diagnoses tripled in 2020 at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and they’re showing up sicker than they did in the past, with 23% affected by diabetic ketoacidosis, compared to 4% in 2019.15 School closures and reduced physical activity triggered by the pandemic were likely factors in the sudden rise. “It was really pointing us to the indirect effect of social distancing,” Dr. Brynn Marks, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s National, told Reuters.16 Weight gain has been another consequence, with significant increases in the rate of body mass index (BMI) change noted during the pandemic among 2- to 19-year-olds, according to the CDC. The CDC noted:17 “The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures, disrupted routines, increased stress, and less opportunity for physical activit

How Health Officials Accelerated the Diabetes Pandemic

Diabetes has reached crisis levels in the U.S., with 10.5% of Americans affected.1 That data came from 2018 — before the pandemic — and the problem has only worsened since. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017,2 but diabetes deaths surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising 17% in 2020.3

While COVID-19 was a problem — 39.5% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among people with diabetes4 — even diabetics who didn’t get COVID-19 suffered, often falling victim to isolation, social distancing, lack of medical care and fear, instead.

Younger people have been disproportionately affected, with diabetes deaths among 25- to 44-year-olds jumping 29% in 2020. Other deaths from everything, excluding COVID-19, rose 6% that year,5 highlighting the dismal public health failure that accelerated the diabetes pandemic.

Medical System, Dietary Advice Failing People With Diabetes

Even prior to the pandemic, diabetes was on an alarming trajectory that saw hospitalization for hyperglycemic crises increase by 73% from 2009 to 2015. Diabetes deaths rose by 55% during that time.6

Inactivity and poor diet are fueling the diabetes crisis, causing people to develop the condition at younger ages. Diets focused on ultraprocessed foods and fast foods are the root of the problem, as they’re loaded with seed oils — misleadingly known as “vegetable oils” — that contain toxic oxidized omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) that accelerate metabolic dysfunction.7

Yet, the American Diabetes Association continues to recommend seed oils like canola as “part of a healthy, balanced diet.”8 Diabetes is a manageable — and often reversible — condition, provided you make positive lifestyle changes and get proper medical care and advice.

However, many people are limited by their insurance plans as to which care providers they can see, and others forgo medical care entirely to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket costs. As it stands, diabetes treatment costs top $230 billion a year in the U.S., yet the diabetes mortality rate is 42% higher than it is in 10 other industrialized countries.9

“The focus in U.S. health care on treating crises over preventing them doesn’t help, downplaying the importance of lifestyle changes that could lessen the severity of the disease,” a Reuters investigation reported. “‘Over and over again, the problem is worse in young adults, and there isn’t improvement in older adults,’ Ed Gregg, a former CDC researcher, told Reuters. ‘The magnitude of the increase has set us back 15 to 20 years.’”10

In fact, in 2020 only accidents and overdose deaths rose faster than diabetes deaths, which beat out Alzheimer’s disease, flu and pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer for the dubious title of fastest-rising deaths.11

Fearful of COVID, People Died of Diabetes Instead

The Reuters investigation follows the case of a 42-year-old woman whose death from complications of Type 2 diabetes during the pandemic was the result of isolation and fear. Locked down in her home, fearful of COVID-19, she ordered fast food and lost the motivation to eat better and exercise, and had difficulty getting adequate medical care.

Ultimately, “the isolation and the financial and logistical issues proved overwhelming.”12 In another case, a 68-year-old man with Type 2 diabetes had his leg amputated after avoiding medical care for a chronic sore out of fear of COVID-19.

These stories aren’t unique. Sandra Arevalo, director of community and patient education at Montefiore Hospital in Nyack, New York, told Reuters that diabetes deaths, amputations and intensive care admissions had plagued several patients she knew of after they delayed medical care during the pandemic.

“The diagnosis was uncontrolled diabetes, but it was caused by COVID fear. COVID caused more damage than we realized,” Arevalo said13 Giuseppina Imperatore, with the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, also told Reuters that “the impact of the COVID pandemic on people with diabetes cannot be overstated.”14

Diabetes Cases Tripled Among Youth in 2020

Young people are also suffering. Among 8- to 20-year-olds, Type 2 diabetes diagnoses tripled in 2020 at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and they’re showing up sicker than they did in the past, with 23% affected by diabetic ketoacidosis, compared to 4% in 2019.15 School closures and reduced physical activity triggered by the pandemic were likely factors in the sudden rise.

“It was really pointing us to the indirect effect of social distancing,” Dr. Brynn Marks, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s National, told Reuters.16 Weight gain has been another consequence, with significant increases in the rate of body mass index (BMI) change noted during the pandemic among 2- to 19-year-olds, according to the CDC. The CDC noted:17

“The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures, disrupted routines, increased stress, and less opportunity for physical activity and proper nutrition, leading to weight gain among children and adolescents.

Among persons with overweight, moderate obesity, and severe obesity, pandemic rates of BMI increase more than doubled, compared with prepandemic rates … similar effects were observed for weight change … Compared with other age groups, children aged 6-11 years experienced the largest increase in their rate of BMI change … with a pandemic rate of change that was 2.50 times as high as the prepandemic rate.”

Translated into the resulting weight gain, the figures reveal that 22% of children and teens were obese in 2020,18 up from 19% in 2019. Average annual weight gain among healthy weight children was 3.4 pounds prior to the pandemic, which rose to 5.4 pounds in 2020. Among children who were already obese, the acceleration was even greater.

For moderately obese children, expected annual weight gain rose from 6.5 pounds in 2019 to 12 pounds in 2020, while severely obese children’s expected annual weight gain increased from 8.8 pounds to 14.6 pounds during the pandemic.

The Pandemic Made Obesity Worse

Americans are also facing an obesity crisis, which goes hand in hand with the diabetes crisis. The latest figures from the CDC state that 42.4% of Americans were obese in 2017 to 2018, an increase from 30.5% in 1999 to 2000.19

The pandemic has made these numbers even worse, as 42% of U.S. adults who responded to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Stress in America poll said they had gained more weight than they intended since the pandemic started.20

The average weight gain among this group was 29 pounds, with 10% stating they gained more than 50 pounds during the pandemic.21 The CDC also announced September 15, 2021, that the number of states with high obesity prevalence — defined as at least 35% of residents with obesity — has nearly doubled since 2018.22

There are now 16 states where at least 35% of the residents are obese, up from nine states in 2018 and 12 in 2019. “These and other emerging data show that the COVID-19 pandemic changed eating habits, worsened levels of food insecurity, created obstacles to physical activity, and heightened stress, all exacerbating the decadeslong pattern of obesity in America,” Trust for America’s Health reported.23

Experts: ‘Quarantine’ From Ultraprocessed Foods

Eliminating ultraprocessed foods is an essential part of tackling both obesity and Type 2 diabetes, as it lowers your intake of toxic seed oils. Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist and the founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, explained the complex process behind seed oils’ toxicity in his presentation at the ALLDOCS annual 2020 meeting:24

“Here's what excess omega-6 does in a westernized diet: induces nutrient deficiencies, causes a catastrophic lipid peroxidation cascade … This damages … a phospholipid called cardio lipid in the mitochondrial membranes. And this leads to electron transport chain failure … which causes mitochondrial failure and dysfunction.

And this leads first to reactive oxygen species, which feeds back into this peroxidation cascade.

So you're filling up your fat cells and your mitochondrial membranes with omega-6, and these are going to peroxidize because of the fact that they are polyunsaturated … next thing that happens, insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes … Your mitochondria are failing to burn fat for fuel … this is a powerful mechanism for obesity.”

While the CDC and other health officials aren’t sounding the alarm about the risks posed by ultraprocessed foods and other toxic exposures, the scientific community is taking note. As noted by a team of researchers in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, the role of toxic substance exposures, which includes ultraprocessed foods and poor diet, is underreported in the COVID-19 pandemic.25

“In short, it is the pervasive, constant exposure to toxic stressors in our environment, in combination with genetic factors, that cause us to develop diseases that impair our immune systems and make us susceptible to serious COVID-19 infection,” reported the Alliance for Natural Health.26

As the researchers noted, this includes lifestyle factors such as inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet including ultraprocessed foods and refined grains and chronic sleep deprivation — all factors that also affect your weight and risk of diabetes.27

In order to protect the public, a “quarantine” from toxins like ultraprocessed foods, environmental chemicals and more would be far more effective than quarantining from one virus,28 and for long-term pandemic prevention, the researchers believe, and I would strongly agree, that such toxicology-based approaches should be given priority over virology-based approaches.29

Healthy Lifestyle for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic response, from lockdowns to school closures, have worsened the already perilous diabetes and obesity epidemics, but you can take action to protect your health. In addition to eliminating ultraprocessed foods — including fast foods and most restaurant foods — from your diet, give intermittent fasting a try.

Time restricted eating (TRE) is a simple powerful intervention that mimics the eating habits of our ancestors and restores your body to a more natural state that allows a whole host of metabolic benefits to occur.30

TRE involves limiting your eating window to six to eight hours per day instead of the more than 12-hour window most use. Research shows, for instance, that TRE promotes insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar management by increasing insulin-mediated glucose uptake rates,31 which is important for resolving Type 2 diabetes.

In another study, when 15 men at risk of Type 2 diabetes restricted their eating to even a nine-hour window, they lowered their mean fasting glucose, regardless of when the “eating window” commenced.32

Remember when you eat is also important. I recommend adopting a cyclical ketogenic diet, which involves radically limiting carbs (replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein) until you’re close to or at your ideal weight, ultimately allowing your body to burn fat — not carbohydrates — as its primary fuel.

And always remember the most dangerous foods in your diet are seed oils, commonly hidden in all chicken, pork, salad dressings and any sauces or dressings at a restaurant.

Source : Mercola More   

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FDA Committee Recommends COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11 Years Old

The advice is the first to address COVID-19 vaccines for younger children

FDA Committee Recommends COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11 Years Old

COVID-19 vaccines are already authorized for children ages 12 and older, and the shots now have the support of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert panel for younger children ages 5 to 11.

In a 17 to 0 vote, with one abstention, the committee recommended the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech for the youngest group yet to potentially get immunized against the disease in the US. The committee recommended a two-dose regimen at one-third the dosage approved for adults.

The FDA now takes the committee’s advice into consideration before making a final recommendation. If the agency decides to recommend the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will then detail which specific groups of children in that age range should get vaccinated. (For example, after weighing the benefits of risks, the agency’s public health experts could recommend only children at high risk of severe COVID-19 get the shot.)
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That was a question the FDA committee members struggled with as well, since the data presented by Pfizer-BioNTech included balancing the benefit of the vaccine in protecting kids from COVID-19 disease against theoretical risks of side effects, nearly all of which have been observed in older children and adults. Those complications include inflammation of the heart tissue, which is known as myocarditis and pericarditis.

The committee members also grappled with the fact that, according to data presented by CDC scientists, up to 40% of children aged 5 to 11 may have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2, and that may be an under estimate, since many younger children who are infected don’t experience symptoms and therefore never go to the doctor or get medical care. That means they might have some immunity against the virus, although it’s unclear how robust it would be. “I think it’s possible they likely only need one dose at best, which is going to be more than sufficient for them,” said Dr. Michael Kurilla, director of the division of clinical innovation at the National Institutes of Health, who abstained from the vote. Kurilla expressed concern that Pfizer-BioNTech did not provide data detailing what happens to the virus-fighting antibodies that children generate after getting vaccinated, and whether these wane as they do in adults. He also worried about vaccinating children who might have already been naturally infected and not need additional protection from a shot.

The U.S. is reviewing data on how safe and effective each of the three authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines is for children. On Oct. 25, Moderna submitted its request to the FDA to expand its authorization to include children ages 6 to 11. That was based on data the company provided showing that the vaccine can provide strong protection against COVID-19 disease.

For today’s discussion, Pfizer-BioNTech provided data from two studies involving more than 3,100 children ages 5 to 11 who received either two doses of their vaccine or two doses of a placebo. About half were tracked for two months or more, and half for under a month. According to Pfizer-BioNTech’s studies, the two shots, each given at one-third of the dosage for adults, were 90.7% efficacious in protecting the children from getting symptoms of COVID-19. Three children who got the vaccine tested positive for COVID-19, while 16 in the placebo group tested positive seven days after their second dose.

The committee agreed that children with underlying health conditions, including obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes, would benefit from vaccination. But for otherwise healthy children, the balance wasn’t as clear—given, as Kurilla noted, the relatively high proportion of children who might already have immunity from natural infection, as well as the potential risk of myocarditis. In older adolescents and adults, the heart risk was rare but concerning, especially among young males, and the vaccine’s label currently contains a warning for this group. But it’s not clear if the same risk translates to younger children. That’s why the FDA asked Pfizer-BioNTech to provide additional data on more than 1,500 youngsters, in addition to the original 1,500 that the companies originally studied, which allowed the agency to delve more deeply into the side effects.

In its analysis, the FDA noted that people who are naturally infected with COVID-19 have a nearly 16-fold increase in the risk of myocarditis compared to those who are not infected. The scientists also weighed the risk of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a rare condition that causes fever, loss of blood pressure and damage to different organs including the liver. Over the past year, the CDC recorded more than 5,200 cases of MIS-C and 46 deaths, mostly in children ages 5 to 13 years.

The FDA scientists did extensive modeling to predict how the benefits and risks would play out, and found that the balance was highly dependent on how much virus is circulating. During peak infections, the benefits of protecting children from the disease outweigh the small risks of complications from the vaccine, but in one model, which assumed very low prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, the risk of myocarditis, estimated from rates occurring among older children, offset any potential benefit of the vaccine.

Still, overall the FDA concluded that the potential longer term risks of COVID-19 infection, including Long COVID, may tip the balance in favor of vaccination. “To me, the question is pretty clear. We don’t want children dying of COVID-19 even if there are far fewer children than adults affected by the disease, and we don’t want them in the ICU,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, chief medical officer at the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.

Ultimately, the FDA committee’s role is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for a specific age group. It’s up to the CDC to decide exactly which children in that age range should get vaccinated. That swayed most of the committee members to vote in favor, ensuring that children who need the vaccine and could benefit from it can get vaccinated if their parents so choose. “I voted ‘yes’ because I want to make sure that children who really need this vaccine—mainly Black and brown children—get the vaccine,” said Dr. James Hildreth, professor of internal medicine at Meharry Medical College. “There are lots and lots of children for whom the vaccine could be the difference between health and even life. I hope the [CDC’s committee] will prioritize the vaccine in some way to make sure that actually happens.”

Dr. Eric Rubin, editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and professor of immunology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, admitted that “we decided to vote for it with a heavy conscience. I’m hoping this is the start of learning more about how to deploy this vaccine.”

Children, and especially younger children, are the last group to be vaccinated against COVID-19, following the elderly, adults and adolescents. As more people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, rates of new infections have declined, along with hospitalizations and deaths from the disease. But infections and disease are climbing among the youngest children, highlighting the need to vaccinate them quickly. Of the more than 44 million cases of COVID-19 reported since the pandemic began, nearly 9% have occurred among children aged 5 to 11 years. In August, 39% of cases among people under age 18 were in 5 to 11 year olds. Nearly 150 children in this age group have died of COVID-19.

Even more concerning, young children may be getting infected without symptoms and spreading the virus to others. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a recent briefing that “months ago, it was felt, based on the data with [the] Alpha [variant] predominantly, that children do not get infected as much. And if they do, they don’t spread the infection in the home setting. In the era of Delta, children get infected as readily as adults do, and they transmit the infection as readily as adults do.”

That means that as more adults are vaccinated, the virus is finding new hosts to infect to survive—such as young, unvaccinated kids who are serving as sources of infection to other children (as evidenced by the outbreaks among summer camps last year), as well as unvaccinated and immunocompromised adults.

“The reality is that at one point we thought if we vaccinated enough people, then the virus would go away,” said Jeannette Lee, professor of biostatistics at the University of Arkansas. “But it’s not going away, so we have to find a way to live with it. Vaccines give us a way to do that.”

Source : Time More   

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