Today’s Headlines: Sugary Drinks, Surgery Complications, and Diabetes

Sugary drinks linked to thousands of deaths every year. You probably know that sugary drinks aren’t good for you, but you probably didn’t realize they might lead to death. That’s the finding in a study out this week. “By contributing to obesity and, through that, to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks appears to claim the lives of about 25,000 American adults yearly and is linked worldwide to the deaths of 180,000 each year. To generate those estimates of sugary beverages’ health toll, researchers combed through national dietary surveys that captured patterns of beverage consumption in 51 countries from 1980 to 2010. The researchers then mined resource databases to discern the availability and consumption of sugar in 187 countries. They tallied consumption of drinks, homemade and mass-produced, that deliver 50 calories or more per 8-ounce serving, and did not count 100% fruit juices.” The research showed that the U.S. is second behind Mexico in terms of deaths caused by sugary drink consumption. (LA Times)

If you have a complication from surgery, head to the same hospital. When something doesn’t seem quite right after surgery, it can be hard to figure out what to do. A new study published this week has found that you’ll probably be better off going back to the hospital that did the surgery. “The team analyzed Medicare claims data from 2001 to 2011 on patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after major surgeries, including coronary artery bypass surgery, removal of the colon or pancreas, and hip or knee replacement. Between six and 22 percent, depending on the surgery, went back to the hospital within a month. More than half the time, patients were readmitted or transferred to the hospital where they had the surgery. Those who returned to the original hospital where the surgery was done were 26 percent less likely to die within three months of surgery than those admitted to a different hospital.” The researchers point out that this is likely because the original surgeon knows the patient and their medical background when they arrive, allowing them to act quickly to try and fix what might be wrong. Often, ambulances called in these cases will take a person in trouble to the closest hospital, which may not be the right hospital. According to the authors, “patients should try to stay in the immediate vicinity of their surgical hospital for at least a week in case something goes wrong.” (Fox)

If you’re on the road to diabetes, you probably have no idea. Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise for many years, but according to a new study part of the trouble in preventing it is that many don’t even know they’re at risk. “To gauge awareness of a diabetes risk among people with pre-diabetes, researchers gathered a large group of people and weeded out those who said they already had diabetes. Then, they reviewed A1c test results for everyone else to see whether their average blood sugar had been elevated over the last few weeks, an early sign of diabetes. Out of 2,694 adults with high blood sugar, only 288 or one in eight were aware of their status. People who were aware of their condition were about 30 percent more likely to exercise and get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. They were also about 80 percent more likely to attempt weight loss and to have shed pounds in the past year. Lacking awareness, people with the elevated blood sugar levels often fail to make lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise or eating less sugary food that might prevent them from ultimately becoming diabetic.” The team says people who think they might be at risk should talk to their doctor about whether they need to be tested and should ask for an explanation on what the results mean and whether they need to make changes in their lifestyle. (Reuters)