Potassium loss caused by diuretics may explain higher risk of adult diabetes
Taking small tissue samples from patients with lung cancer and examining them under a microscope (a procedure called histology) is now being utilized to better tailor the chemotherapy treatments to improve survival in some patients with non-small cell lung cancer, according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, cosponsored
Full Post: Tissue analyses indicate survival benefits for some lung cancer patients
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that a drop in blood potassium levels caused by diuretics commonly prescribed for high blood pressure could be the reason why people on those drugs are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The drugs helpfully accelerate loss of fluids, but also deplete important chemicals, including potassium, so that those who take them are generally advised to eat bananas and other potassium-rich foods to counteract the effect.
“Previous studies have told us that when patients take diuretic thiazides, potassium levels drop and the risk of diabetes climbs to 50 percent,” says lead researcher Tariq Shafi, M.D., M.H.S., of the Department of Nephrology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Now, for the first time, we think we have concrete information connecting the dots.”
Thiazides, such as chlorthalidone, are an inexpensive and highly effective way to treat high blood pressure and have been used widely for decades. However, their association with diabetes has forced many hypertension suffers to use other medications that can be several times as expensive, says Shafi.
“This study shows us that as long as physicians monitor and regulate potassium levels, thiazides could be used safely, saving patients thousands of dollars a year,” says Shafi. “It could be as simple as increasing the consumption of potassium-rich foods like bananas and oranges and/or reducing salt intake, both of which will keep potassium from dropping.”
Researchers examined data from 3,790 nondiabetic participants in the Systolic Hypertension in Elderly Program (SHEP). SHEP is a randomized clinical trial conducted between 1985 and 1991 designed to determine the risk versus benefit of giving a certain high blood pressure medication to people age 60 years or older.
Half of the subjects were treated with chlorthalidone and half with a fake drug. Of the 3,790 subjects, 1,603 were men and 724 were nonwhite. None had a history of diabetes. In the original study, potassium levels were monitored as a safety precaution to guard against irregular heartbeat, a condition that can result from low potassium.
The results, published online this month in the journal Hypertension , showed that for each 0.5 milliequivalent-per-liter (MEq/L) decrease in serum potassium, there was a 45 percent increased risk of diabetes. None of the people in the group receiving the fake drug developed low potassium levels. Shafi says these findings should encourage physicians to establish a potassium baseline by checking hypertensive patients’ medical records to determine their potassium levels before prescribing thiazides.
“We would normally look at the number only after six weeks of treatment to make sure it was not low enough to cause heart problems. As a result, we might not be aware that it dropped significantly from where it was before treatment - putting the patient at risk for developing diabetes,” says Shafi.
According to researchers in the U.S. the loss of potassium experienced from taking blood pressure drugs may explain higher risk of adult diabetes. The researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say they have discovered that a drop in blood potassium levels caused by diuretics commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, could be the
Full Post: Potassium loss from blood pressure drugs increases diabetes risk by 50%
As a risk factor for high blood pressure, low levels of potassium in the diet may be as important as high levels of sodium - especially among African Americans, according to research being presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 41st Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “There has been a lot of
Full Post: Low levels of potassium in diet linked to high blood pressure
More than half of people diagnosed with high blood pressure do not have it under control and many more go undiagnosed, according to research carried out at the University of Warwick. Professor Franco Cappuccio from Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick led the only UK team to participate in a European study examining
Full Post: High blood pressure a looming problem for Europe
Sleeping less than seven and a half hours per day may be associated with future risk of heart disease, according to a report in the November 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. In addition, a combination of little sleep and overnight elevated blood pressure appears to be associated with an increased risk of the
Full Post: Lack of sleep tied to greater risk of heart disease
Patients with the skin disease psoriasis appear more likely to have higher levels of leptin (a hormone produced by fat cells that may contribute to obesity and other metabolic abnormalities) than persons without psoriasis, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that results in a
Full Post: Psoriasis sufferers more likely to have higher levels of leptin