Feb 23,2007 00:00
A joint English-Canadian research team has discovered genetic markers that can identify people predisposed toward developing Type 2 diabetes.
The group believes these discoveries will help them to understand up to 70 percent of the disease's genetic background, and can help prevent people from developing Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.
The research is published online in the journal Nature.
Led by scientists from Imperial College London and
"Until now, progress in understanding how genes influence disease has been painfully slow," said study co-author David Balding, professor of genetical statistics at
Researchers found one mutation that might help provide new treatments. This mutation is called SLC30A8; it is a specific zinc carrier that assists with insulin secretion. The research group theorizes that repairing this carrier could treat Type 2 diabetes.
"The two major reasons why people develop Type 2 diabetes are obesity and a family link," said Philippe Froguel, of
There are 20.8 million children and adults in the
Froguel believes that if individuals know they are more likely to get diabetes, they might be more encouraged to change their lifestyle.
"If we can tell someone that their genetics mean they are predisposed toward Type 2 diabetes," said Froguel. "They will be much more motivated to change things such as diet to reduce their chances of developing the disorder. We can also use what we know about the specific genetic mutations associated with Type 2 diabetes to develop better treatments."
Type 2 diabetes occurs when sugar collects in the blood instead of the cells, according to the American Diabetes Association Web site ( www.diabetes.org). Type 2 diabetics make insulin, which takes glucose from the blood to the cells; however, their bodies do not react properly to it.
Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are two of the problems associated with Type 2 diabetes.
Hyperglycemia is a scientific way of saying your blood sugar is too high. It occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin or can't process the insulin it produces in the correct way.
In order to control hyperglycemia, diabetics must routinely monitor their blood sugar. When they need to reduce their blood sugar, exercising and modifying their eating habits to reduce sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and reducing portion size can help. If hyperglycemia isn't controlled, a disorder called ketoacidosis or diabetic coma can occur, says the
Symptoms of hyperglycemia are:
- The need to urinate more often
- Increased levels of sugar in the urine
- High blood sugar
On the other hand, hypoglycemia is the scientific way of saying your blood sugar is too low. Hypoglycemia is also known as "insulin reaction," says the
Hypoglycemia can be treated by routinely monitoring blood sugar levels. In order to raise sugar levels, a diabetic needs to consume some type of sugar, such as the fructose found in fruit juice.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia are:
Type-2 diabetes leads to other complications if not treated. According to the
- Heart disease and stroke.
- Kidney failure.
- Neuropathy, or damage to the nerves in the feet.
- Skin problems affect one-third of diabetics.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through a healthy diet and more exercise. A recent large, double-blind diabetes prevention program study performed by the
A healthy diet designed to prevent Type 2 diabetes would include three to five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, fish two to three times a week and nonfat dairy products. Sugary desserts and candy should be kept to a minimum. People wishing to lower their risk of developing diabetes should also limit their intake of beverages that contain alcohol, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup in favor of diet drinks or water.
© Copley News Service