About Me

My photo
Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The links between smoking and increased risk for cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular disease are well-known, but the association between smoking and diabetes has received less attention.  A new analysis of 88 existing studies that included almost six million people has found that current smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke have a significantly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  The good news is that after quitting, over time the risk for diabetes decreases. 

The study found a dose-response relationship between smoking and diabetes risk. Compared with those who have never smoked, light smokers have a 21% increased risk of type 2 diabetes, moderate smokers have a 34% increased risk, and heavy smokers have a 57% increased risk.  Those who do not smoke but are regularly exposed to second hand smoke have a 22% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes risk among quitters does substantially decline over time.  Among those who quit within the past 5 to 9 years their increased risk falls to 18% and among those who have quit a decade ago or more saw their smoking related diabetes risk fall to 11%.   

What to do:  If you smoke, try to quit.  Previous unsuccessful efforts to quit do not mean that you cannot succeed.  Keep trying.  Discuss smoking cessation treatment options with your healthcare provider.  Check out www.nyc.gov/nycquits or call x311 to learn about the many free resources available including local tobacco cessation programs & support groups, and free nicotine patches.

Adapted from articles available at:

Pan A, Wang Y, Talaei M.  Relation of active, passive, and quitting smoking with incident type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet:  Diabetes & Endocrinology.  Published online ahead of print Sept. 17, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00316-2.


Two recent studies highlight the importance of adequate vitamin D levels to healthy aging.  Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is made by the skin when exposed to sunlight.  As we age, the body becomes much less effective at making vitamin D, so many seniors have insufficient levels of vitamin D.

One recent study found that mental function may decline faster in older adults with low levels of vitamin D.  For the study, researchers tracked the vitamin D levels and cognitive function of 380 seniors over 5 years.  The researchers found that, like the general population,  the majority of study participants had levels of vitamin D that were too low; 26% were vitamin D-deficient (below 12 nanograms per milliliter) and 35% were vitamin D-insufficient (12-19ng/mL).  The study revealed that at baseline individuals with low vitamin D were more likely to have dementia as well as poorer thinking and memory skills, and  during follow-up, the rates of decline in memory, thinking and problem-solving among those who were vitamin D-deficient and vitamin D-insufficient were significantly greater than among those with adequate levels of vitamin D.  The study authors hypothesize that vitamin D may help protect the brain from developing the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease.

In a second recent study, on homebound seniors, researchers found that vitamin D supplementation greatly reduced falls.  Over five months, 68 homebound seniors received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units (equivalent to taking approximately 3000 IU daily) or a placebo.  At the start of the study, over three-fourths of participants were either deficient or insufficient in vitamin D.  The supplemented group experienced less than half the falls of the placebo group.  Every year, about one-third of seniors who live at home suffer falls, and about one in 10 falls results in serious injury. 

What to do:  While much remains unknown about how vitamin D impacts health, emerging research suggests nearly all cells in the body have receptors for vitamin D and it may play an important role in maintaining not only musculoskeletal health but also neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, and immune health.  It is difficult to get adequate vitamin D from diet.  It is found in many fortified products including milk and it occurs naturally in fatty fish, fish liver oils, and the edible bones in foods such as canned salmon & sardines.  The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for older adults is 600 to 800 IU.  However many persons supplementing at this level still have inadequate levels.  When getting bloodwork, request that your doctor check vitamin D levels.  Persons with some conditions should not supplement with Vitamin D so check with your provider before starting supplementation.  Vitamin D is widely available in over-the counter supplements.  To maximize uptake of vitamin D, choose a supplement with D3 that includes calcium. 

Houston DK, Tooze JA, Demons JL et al.  Delivery of a vitamin D intervention in homebound older adults using a Meals-on-Wheels program: A pilot study.  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  September 2015 Sept; 63 (9): 1861-1867. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.13610

Miller JW, Harvey DJ, Beckett LA et al. Vitamin D status and rates of cognitive decline in a multiethnic cohort of older adults.  JAMA Neurology. Published online ahead of print September 14, 2015 DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2115

Adapted from articles available at: