Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kidney disease outlook improving in diabetics

A recent study from Finland suggests that the outlook for kidney disease in patients with Type 1 diabetes has improved significantly, due largely to improvements in treatment, including home blood glucose testing, rapid-acting insulin analogs, and pre-emptive kidney treatments such as ACE inhibitors. The findings were particularly noteworthy among those patients diagnosed with Type 1 before the age of 5. Generally speaking, the results suggest that earlier diagnosis with Type 1 has a beneficial effect on the likelihood of developing kidney problems, assuming of course that the patient receives optimal care for diabetes. Still, the news is generally positive, but that does not mean that efforts to find a cure should be abandoned!!!

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1 comment:

Scott S said...

Linda, the original article is gone from Reuters' archives, but the same article can be found elsewhere online, so I have now provided one of the links on my blog.

BTW, lisinopril is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor, not a beta blocker. Beta blockers work in a completely different manner from ACE inhibitors. Beta blockers "block" the effects of epinephrine on the body's beta receptors. This slows the nerve impulses that travel through the heart. As a result, the heart does not have to work as hard because it needs less blood and oxygen. By comparison, ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by reducing an enzyme in the body that is necessary to produce a substance that causes blood vessels to tighten. As a result, they relax blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. It is believed that this functions primarily in the kidneys, although the exact manner they work is still not known. ACE inhibitors have been proven to preserve the kidney function, or at least reduce the damage caused by gyrating blood glucose levels (which is what really causes microvascular damage, not elevated glucose per se). All ACE inhibitors work the same way, and there are a number of different ones, including lisinopril, captopril, ramipril, and trandolapril just to name a few. Most of the studies were done using ramipril (known by the brand name of Altace which will be sold as a generic in the near future since the patent on the original drug has expired).