Coffee may cut diabetes risk

The Baltimore Sun

My father and uncle both have diabetes. I would like to reduce my risk of developing this disease, and I've heard that drinking coffee can help. Is there any evidence behind this claim?

There are several epidemiological studies that have demonstrated an association between regular coffee consumption and a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (Diabetes Care, February 2006).

Do not count on coffee alone to protect you, however. Regular exercise and weight control are far more likely to be helpful in preventing Type 2 diabetes.

Add me to the list of people who have been helped by Certo mixed with grape juice for arthritis. (Actually, I use generic plant pectin.)

For years, I controlled my high cholesterol by watching my diet and exercising. I love to run, and I would run even if it were not for the cholesterol.

Several years ago, I developed a problem with my knee. X-rays revealed arthritis in both knees.

I gradually started back running, but the arthritis bothered me in the morning when I went down to the kitchen to fetch morning coffee. This was quite painful, and I had to use the handrail. The way up was even worse, because I had my hands full with coffee cups.

I contemplated how much longer I would be able to run and even whether we would have to move to a single-level dwelling because of the pain. I avoid long-term use of drugs of any kind, choosing instead to change my lifestyle and habits.

When I heard about the grape juice/pectin recipe, I tried it. Within a couple of weeks, there was improvement, and after taking a daily dose for months now, the morning joint pain is gone. Instead of contemplating a wheelchair, I'm contemplating my next run. (I also take fish oil to reduce inflammation.)

We have heard from other runners as well as arthritic grandmothers that the combination of plant pectin (found in Certo) and purple grape juice can ease joint pain. There is some research suggesting that Concord grape juice has anti-inflammatory properties (Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, November 2004).

Several months ago, I discovered that OFF! insect repellent wipes remove temporary tattoos. Yesterday, I discovered they also dissolve Super Glue when the tube is stuck to your finger. Just squeeze the liquid onto the "stuck" area and gently pull.

The best way to unstick fingers that have been inadvertently glued together is with the solvent acetone, found in nail-polish remover. If you don't have acetone available, however, the trick you have discovered seems quite handy.

My husband and I are 55 and 53. We detest seafood and do not eat it. With all the news we've been hearing about the benefits of eating fish, is there a supplement we should add to our diet?

To get the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, you could take a fish-oil supplement. Look for one that provides 1,000 mg of both DHA and EPA combined.

I had shingles many years ago. So did my friend. Her doctor gave her a shingles injection so she won't get it again. My doctor said that by having shingles, I built antibodies to it and don't need the shot. Which doctor is correct?

Chickenpox during childhood can lead to shingles later in life. The virus (varicella zoster) can lie dormant in nerves near the spinal cord for decades. The virus can be reactivated and trigger an intensely painful skin reaction.

Zostavax was developed to prevent shingles in people older than 60. The company excluded anyone who had previously experienced a shingles attack from the study. Consequently, the Food and Drug Administration does not allow the company to promote the vaccine for anyone who already had shingles.

We're not surprised that the doctors disagree. Many were taught that shingles only happen once. That is not completely true. Although quite rare, some people can experience another bout with this virus (American Family Physician, April 15, 2000). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for vaccination even for people who already had one attack.

I had acid-reflux surgery because stomach acid was irritating my throat. After the surgery, the correct diagnosis of celiac disease was finally made. Eating wheat caused the acid in my throat.

People often write you about chronic heartburn. They should be told that surgery and drugs aren't always the answers. If I'd gotten the celiac-disease diagnosis sooner, I might have been spared an unnecessary operation.

Celiac disease is an inability to tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The immune reaction to this protein begins to destroy the gut and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from heartburn and migraines to fatigue and osteoporosis.

Celiac disease was once thought to be rare, but more recent research shows that it is far more common, affecting perhaps one in 100 people (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, November 2005). It runs in families, so relatives of patients should definitely be tested. There are no medications to treat celiac disease, but it can be controlled with a gluten-free diet.

To learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease, we offer an hour-long CD of our radio interview with a leading expert, Dr. Peter Green. Anyone who would like the CD may send $16 to: Graedon Enterprises, Dept. CD-594, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. You also can order show No. 594 from peoples

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site.

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