DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He is a competitive distance runner. He loves Kool-Aid and calculates that in a year he drinks 150 pounds of sugar in Kool-Aid alone. A friend told him if he continues this habit, he might develop diabetes. Can a skinny, athletic person develop diabetes from consuming sugar? — S.B.
ANSWER: Although “sugar” is half the name of sugar diabetes, sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. It’s a popular belief that it does, but it doesn’t. People with diabetes are careful to watch their sugar intake, and they watch their total carbohydrate intake, but diabetics don’t have to eliminate sugar completely from their lives. Careful monitoring of sugar and carbohydrate intake is essential for their control of blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes, the kind that requires insulin for control, often has its onset in younger years. It’s due to a destruction of the insulin-making cells of the pancreas. The destruction is believed to be the work of the immune system. Sugar has nothing to do with it. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes, the much more common kind, comes about from a decline in insulin production along with a decline in the effectiveness of insulin. Ninety percent of Type 2 diabetics are overweight, and weight loss helps them control their blood sugar. Physical inactivity also contributes to Type 2 diabetes. So do genes. Again, it’s not the sugar intake that produces this common type of diabetes. But monitoring the intake of sugar is important for control of this variety of diabetes.
The booklet on diabetes presents this illness and its treatments in detail. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 402W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I think I may have the illness where a person pulls out clumps of hair. I’m not sure of the name. I find I do this after I have caffeine. I have been off caffeine for 25 years, and I do not pull my hair out. I thought this might be helpful to others. — K.H.
ANSWER: The name of the condition is trichotillomania (TRICK-oh-TILLuh MAY-knee-uh). Between 4 million and 11 million Americans have it. It’s called an impulse disorder. I hadn’t heard about a caffeine connection. If this holds true for others, they will deeply appreciate your advice.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: You recently wrote that Excedrin with caffeine enhances pain relief. I believe that often the cause of headaches is withdrawal from caffeine. Another inference of this fact is to wean oneself from caffeine when trying to kick the habit. — B.B.
ANSWER: You’re right. One of the withdrawal symptoms from going cold turkey off somewhat-heavy caffeine consumption is headache, particularly migraine headache.
I’m right. Caffeine is a mild painkiller that increases the painkilling capacities of other analgesics when incorporated into the same tablet as those analgesics.
©2014 North America Synd.