Articles

Systolic Blood Pressure and Dementia Risk

Systolic Blood Pressure and Dementia Risk

About 9,000 adults were randomized to receive tight or less-tight systolic blood pressure control. They were followed for about 5 years for cognition and dementia outcomes. Although the primary outcome was almost significant, the secondary outcomes were truly significant for improvement of mild cognitive impairment or probable dementia with intensive systolic blood pressure <120 mmHg over those who achieved sBP <140 mmHg. Although further trials are needed to clarify the above findings, there appears to be no harm of lowering the sBP down to <120 mmHg in this study.

GT

Statins improve diabetic retinopathy?

Statins improve diabetic retinopathy?

This major observational study suggests that statins reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy, diabetic foot ulcers, and more importantly the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Risk reduction ranges from 10% to 45%. This could be due to statin-induced decreased microvascular inflammation. About 38,000 patients were followed for 7.5 years.

GT

2018 Cholesterol Guidelines: Secondary ASCVD Prevention

2018 Cholesterol Guidelines: Secondary ASCVD Prevention

Although current guidelines are an honest attempt in reflecting complex medical evidence from clinical trials, they may not be very practical or user-friendly to general practitioners.

A simplified but reasonable approach to lipid management for secondary ASCVD prevention would be:

  • Patients with established clinical ASCVD should achieve LDL-cholesterol <70 mg/dL by using statins ± ezetimibe ± PCSK9 inhibitors.

GT

Subclinical hypothyroidism in the elderly

Subclinical hypothyroidism in the elderly

Personalized therapy is crucial in good clinical practice, and in the management of older patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, multiple factors must be considered, including age-dependent TSH cutoffs, thyroid autoimmunity, the burden of comorbidities, and the possible presence of frailty. 

Levothyroxine is the drug of choice for the treatment of hypothyroid older people, but the risk of overtreatment, potential adverse drug reactions, and patient compliance should always be considered and thyroid status periodically reassessed.

JES

Artificial pancreas in the hospital

Artificial pancreas in the hospital

The automated insulin pump has already shown great results in type 1 diabetes in an ambulatory setting. This study shows that it is as useful in type 2 diabetes patients treated in the hospital. Patients utilizing the “artificial pancreas” had better glycemic control, without an increased risk of hypoglycemia. I anticipate that closed-loop, automated insulin devices will become the “standard of care” for hospitalized patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the future.

GT

Coffee and Diabetes

Coffee and Diabetes

About 4,000 adults ages 20-70 were followed for 6 years. Pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes rates were lower in those who consumed coffee vs. non-consumers. Risk reduction on average was 30%. Nutritional benefits of coffee on insulin resistance are mounting, as shown in this article.

GT

LCAT, key to HDL particle formation

LCAT, key to HDL particle formation

Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is a critical enzyme in cholesterol metabolism. It helps transport the cholesterol from the periphery, including diseased coronary arteries, back to the liver via formation of mature HDL particles (“good cholesterol”).

LCAT deficiency due to genetic mutations is rare. It leads to a profound low HDL-cholesterol level <10 mg/dL, in turn causing corneal opacities, target cell hemolytic anemia, and renal failure. Treatment is mainly supportive.

Authors have identified here an acquired immune-mediated form of LCAT deficiency. It is the 7th case worldwide. It caused nephrotic syndrome, but the patient responded well to the anti-inflammatory agent, prednisolone.

Although these are rare illnesses, they help us understand lipid physiology deeper, and more importantly to provide quick and efficient treatment.

GT

Prolactin Resistance

Prolactin Resistance

This is a nice case of prolactin resistance due to loss-of-function variant in the prolactin receptor (PRL-R) gene. A 35 year old female with hyperprolactinemia became pregnant twice, but was unable to lactate. It would take some time before the PRL-R genetic testing becomes available in clinical practice. Nonetheless, the case expands our knowledge of prolactin pathogenesis.

GT

Novel Approach: Verapamil for Type 1 Diabetes

Novel Approach: Verapamil for Type 1 Diabetes

Old drug, new approach. Verapamil has classically been used to treat hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias. This randomized phase 2 clinical trial shows a novel use of the drug by improving pancreatic beta cell function in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Verapamil helped patients use lower doses of insulin as well as experiencing less hypoglycemia. These are exciting and promising results.

GT

New FDA Approval: Subcutaneous Testosterone Pen

New FDA Approval: Subcutaneous Testosterone Pen

FDA has now approved the first subcutaneous testosterone auto-injector pen (Xyosted) for symptomatic patients with low testosterone levels. It is self-administered once weekly. It comes in three doses, 50 mg, 75, and 100 mg. Recommended starting dose is 75 mg per week. It can increase blood pressure, thus caution is advised in patients predisposed to hypertension and those at increased risk for cardiovascular events. Patients need to be monitor carefully after its initiation. Xyosted is not approved for women or males younger than age 18.

GT

More troubles for Prolia

More troubles for Prolia

The FREEDOM study shows that vertebral fracture risk goes up once prolia is discontinued. This is consistent with prior case reports on the subject. Adults with previous vertebral fractures are at the highest risk. Authors advise that if prolia is stopped, high-risk patients should be switched to other antiresorptive agents. Bisphosphonates are a natural option given their long half-life.

GT

2018 Testosterone Therapy Guidelines

2018 Testosterone Therapy Guidelines

This is an update of previous guidelines published in 2010.

We recommend T therapy for men with symptomatic T deficiency to induce and maintain secondary sex characteristics and correct symptoms of hypogonadism after discussing the potential benefits and risks of therapy and involving the patient in decision making. 

We suggest that when clinicians institute T therapy, they aim at achieving T concentrations in the mid-normal range during treatment with any of the approved formulations.

Clinicians should monitor men receiving T therapy using a standardized plan that includes: evaluating symptoms, adverse effects, and compliance; measuring serum T and hematocrit concentrations; and evaluating prostate cancer risk during the first year after initiating T therapy.

JCEM

Certified Lipidologist

Certified Lipidologist

I am pleased to announce that, as of October 2018, I am a certified clinical lipidologist, accredited by the American Board of Clinical Lipidology (ABCL). The role of the lipidologist is to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Currently, there are approximately 700 certified lipidologists in the U.S.

Dyslipidemia is a major public health concern. Elevated cholesterol levels, particularly what’s called the “bad” cholesterol (LDLc) or non-HDL cholesterol are major risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease leading to heart attack and stroke. World Health Organization estimates that globally, 45% of people have elevated total cholesterol.

Dyslipidemia could be monogenic, polygenic or due to comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, weight gain, lack of exercise, or use of other medications.

According to ABCL, I am 1 of 3 physicians in the U.S. who is certified in all three specialties; endocrinology/diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia. This allows me to provide comprehensive and detailed care to endocrine patients, particularly those with diabetes.

GT

2018 Cholesterol Guidelines: Key Points

2018 Cholesterol Guidelines: Key Points

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cholesterol anomaly, or dyslipidemia, is a major contributor to atherosclerosis morbidity and mortality. Multi-society new cholesterol guidelines were recently published. They were contributed and endorsed by ACC, AHA, ADA, and NLA, among other national associations. You can find below the key recommendations published in the journal of Circulation, November 2018.

GT

New FDA approval: retacrit, to improve anemia of kidney disease

New FDA approval: retacrit, to improve anemia of kidney disease

Erythropoietin is a key hormone produced by the kidney to stimulate bone marrow production of red blood cells. FDA has now approved the second erythropoietin analog, retacrit, in addition to epogen. It shows similar efficacy and side effects to epogen. This approval allows both medications to be more accessible to patients, at a lower cost. It is indicated for treatment of anemia of chronic kidney disease or from use of chemotherapy and zidovudine. It could also be used preemptively prior to surgeries with expected major blood loss.

GT

Sexual function after bariatric surgery

Sexual function after bariatric surgery

This meta-analysis shows that bariatric surgery significantly improves sexual function in men but that a more limited degree of improvement is achieved in women.

In obese male patients who underwent bariatric surgery, the levels of the sex hormones TT, FT, LH, FSH, and SHBG significantly increased, and the level of E2 decreased. In obese female patients, the levels of the sex hormones TT, FT, and E2 decreased, but the levels of LH, FSH, and SHBG increased.

Future studies should be performed to elucidate the mechanism of the improved sexual function in obese patients after bariatric surgery. 

JES

Early heart disease in diabetes and prediabetes

Early heart disease in diabetes and prediabetes

The study finds that the longer the duration of diabetes and prediabetes in early adulthood, the higher the risk of progressive subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiac pump dysfunction, in both phases of contractility and relaxation. About 3,600 patients of age 18-30 were followed for 25 years. This is yet another reason to screen and intervene aggressively young individuals for both prediabetes and diabetes.

GT