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Diabetes ups death risk from cancer in Asians

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NEW YORK —  Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with 26% increased risk of death from any cancer of kidney, thyroid, liver and prostate in Asians, according to a cohort-based study.

The new findings, based on seven Asian countries — China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, and Bangladesh — showed that having Type 2 diabetes led to a 26 per cent increase in the risk of dying from any form of cancer, even when taking into account factors such as BMI, alcohol consumption and smoking.

For the study, the team analysed 19 cohorts with a population of 658,611 east Asians and 112,686 South Asians.The average age of participants was 53.9 at the start of the study, and 37,343 cancer deaths were identified during a mean follow-up time of 12.7 years.

This is the first large study of its kind to focus on Asian populations, according to the authors, but previous studies on other racial and ethnic groups found similar results.

Previous research had suggested that at any given body mass index (BMI), Asians are more susceptible to developing insulin resistance, and go on to have a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in comparison with Europeans.

Furthermore, statistically significant links were found between Type 2 diabetes and the risk of death from cancers of liver, pancreas, bile duct, colorectum and breast.

The strongest association was observed for cancers of the liver, thyroid and kidney (double risk in each case), and endometrium (2.7 times increased risk) and breast (1.7 times increased risk).

“Type 2 diabetes should be considered as a risk factor for cancers in Asians, especially for liver cancer which has a high incidence in Asians,” said Yu Chen, Associate Professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

But diabetes was not statistically significantly associated with risk of death from leukemia and cancers of the bladder, cervix, esophagus, stomach, and lung.

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes. Representational image.

KATHMANDU — It is known that diabetes increase a person’s risk of kidney disease. But, now a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true which means Kidney dysfunction also increases the risk of diabetes.

The researchers deduced that a likely culprit of the two-way relationship between kidney disease and diabetes is urea. The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

The nitrogen-containing waste product in blood comes from the breakdown of protein in foods. Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

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“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes .

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, is published December 11 in Kidney International journal.

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