ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- More and more people with diabetes are living to older ages, thanks to medical advances. But the long-term facilities, such as nursing homes, that care for aging Americans may not be ready for the additional challenges that come with treating patients with diabetes.

"We need to spend appropriate time to think of a way to successfully provide care for people with diabetes as they enter their elder years, and we're just beginning to understand how to do that," said Dr. Paul Strumph, vice president and chief medical officer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Although as many as one in four nursing home residents has diabetes, not all are getting care that meets the American Diabetes Association's goals for community-dwelling adults, according to a recent study.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, found that while 98 percent of nursing home residents with diabetes had their blood glucose levels monitored, only 38 percent met short-term glucose goals.

The better news from the study was that 67 percent of the nursing home residents with diabetes met their long-term glucose control goals, which meant they scored less than 7 percent on their A1C tests. A1C is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.

"One of the key differences in managing diabetes in a nursing home is that it's often not the condition of primary importance," said Helaine Resnick, director of research at the Institute for the Future of Aging Services for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Resnick said one of the concerns she had with the study findings was that no one has yet to come up with specific guidelines for caring for elderly people with diabetes. Glucose control goals for someone who's 40 and living at home may well be different than for someone who's 85, cognitively impaired, and living in a long-term care facility, she said.

"Diabetes medications are designed to lower glucose levels, which can prevent complications from developing in diabetic people. But, when you take medicines to lower blood glucose, it can go too low, which can be extremely dangerous, especially for older adults," Resnick said, noting that it's difficult to find "the appropriate balance between keeping sugars low with the risk of keeping it too low."

Strumph pointed out that the needs of older people with diabetes may be different as well. People with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes who need insulin often choose to use an insulin pump when they're younger, but pumps may not be the best choice for someone who's older and not as aware, he said.

"Someone in a nursing home could pull out a pump site and not know. In that case, you may want to be on a longer-acting insulin instead. We haven't yet defined what the ideal insulin [regimen] is for someone in a facility with a fairly predictable schedule," Strumph said.

Both Strumph and Resnick said it's important for family members, the nursing home resident, and the staff to come up with a realistic care plan.

"Families need to become more actively involved in working with care teams, and that's true for diabetes and for other conditions. Ensure that the facility understands the family's and the resident's preferences. Is your mother more interested in keeping her blood glucose control tight and risk [low blood sugar]? Or is it better for her to ease up on glucose control and work more on quality-of-life issues? Resnick said.

"Families have to be very involved, and the communication needs to be ongoing, because people's values can change," she added.

-Serena Gordon

More information

For tips on selecting a nursing home, visit the AARP Web site.



SOURCES: Paul Strumph, M.D., vice president, chief medical officer, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, New York City; Helaine Resnick, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of research, Institute for the Future of Aging Services, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Washington D.C.; June 2007, Diabetes Care

Last Updated: Jan. 05, 2009

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