Looking for better tests to identify kids with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Finding better diabetes testsAs a pediatric endocrinologist, I see many overweight or obese children who are referred for evaluation of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

You may be asking, what is type 2 diabetes? It’s the type of diabetes that is associated with carrying excess weight. Only adults used to develop type 2 diabetes, but now unfortunately more and more kids are getting the disease as well.

And what is prediabetes? It’s a condition where individuals don’t have high enough blood glucose levels to be classified as having diabetes, but have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future compared with other kids.

Pediatricians often refer overweight and obese kids to specialists like me for evaluation of these conditions, but they all don’t necessarily need to see us. The problem is that it’s currently hard to distinguish a child with a high BMI who is at risk for developing diabetes from one who is not; if we knew which tests could best identify kids with prediabetes and diabetes, we could save some patients the step of seeing a pediatric endocrinologist, and get the ones who DO need to see a specialist in for an appointment sooner. The challenge is all about getting the right kids to a specialist at the right time, thereby making our healthcare delivery system more efficient and providing better care to those who need it.

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Is the flu bug out to get you?

fluThe FLU virus is thought to be spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses may also spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Patients with cancer and immune-compromised patients are NOT at an increased risk for getting the flu, but they are at an increased risk for complications from the flu. But there are steps you can take to stop the flu bug from getting to you.

According to FLU.gov, a website managed Continue reading

Care Partner: The Emerging Caregiver

“A partner paradigm strengthens our interconnectedness and can bring more awareness to the kindness and support that is right under our nose.”care partner1

When do you realize you are a family caregiver? Responses in my experience range from the darkly humorous to the completely visceral, such as: “When my husband started calling me ‘mom.’” Emerging caregivers are often not new to caregiving at all, but rather isolated from the pack. This delays significant steps toward caregiver support and activities that contribute to well-being and caregiver identity, such as joining groups for information, support, stress reduction or counseling. There may also be significant resistance to the word “caregiver” and associated activities. It can feel one-sided and lonely; a loaded word fraught with fear, judgment from friends and comparisons to other family members who may have carried this title in the past.

Emerging as a caregiver can be an uncomfortable and vulnerable time, a trust free-fall. A sense of loss and disappointment is completely natural. Continue reading

Trained to screen patients for colon cancer, nurse finds a genetic link to this disease in her own family

Lynch syndrome

The Sylvest family tree includes Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause cancer.

Lisa Sylvest is a cancer survivor who never met her father Karl’s parents. They lived in Denmark with their other son and daughter. Growing up, Lisa simply knew that her grandmother died at age 54 of a ‘female’ cancer. When Lisa was in high school, Karl’s brother died of brain cancer, also at age 54. Time passed, Lisa entered nursing school and her father’s sister developed endometrial cancer. Lisa traveled to Denmark to meet her relatives face-to-face for the first time.

When her father was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at age 68, Lisa was a U-M Health System nurse working in gastroenterology, which deals with stomach and intestinal disorders. Her Continue reading

U-M atrial fibrillation patient is back in the spotlight

The University of Michigan CVC team has extensive experience in treating patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib), an abnormal type of heart rhythm, for conditions that range from simple to complex. Treatment plans are tailored to each patient’s individual needs, with the goal of helping patients realize an improved quality of life.

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Joann Drayton credits Dr. Hakan Oral with helping her get back to the stage.

Sixty-five-year-old Joann Drayton was accustomed to the spotlight for much of her life. An established opera singer and a choreographer for full-scale productions at Jackson Community College, she was active and involved in the things she loved to do. But when diagnosed with Afib some 15 years ago, Joann’s health began to deteriorate to the point where she felt she just couldn’t function anymore. All that changed when she was introduced to Dr. Hakan Oral, who helped her rediscover the spotlight.

Joann shares her story …

“Dr. Oral is a brilliant doctor who gave me my life back. I suffered from Afib and atrial flutter and also had a history of stroke — conditions that I began experiencing around age 50. Through the years, I was put on as many as eight medications, which eventually left me unable to do the things I loved doing. It was difficult for me to walk up the stairs, let alone perform on stage and manage choreography for the theater group at Jackson Community College. Continue reading

My name is Jason, and DNA sequencing is helping my family Block Out Cancer

Jason and Amelie StrzalkowskiWhen our youngest daughter, Amelie, was 22 months in the fall of 2012, we noticed that she started to have balance problems. She went from zooming around the house to being less steady, and then one Sunday, she stood up and simply fell over. That set off warning bells for me and my wife, Shelley.

We scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician for that Wednesday. From there, our pediatrician sent us to the ER at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Thursday morning she had an MRI where they discovered a brain tumor. Amelie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a kind of fast-growing tumor. On Friday, she had a 13-hour surgery to have as much of the tumor removed as possible. The team at Mott took tissue samples from the tumor to study them further.

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