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The burden of type 2 diabetes: strategies to prevent or delay onset

Authors Nayyar Iqbal

Published 15 September 2007 Volume 2007:3(4) Pages 511—520


Nayyar Iqbal

Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, PA, USA

Abstract: Type 2 diabetes is widespread and its prevalence is increasing rapidly. In the US alone, approximately 41 million individuals have prediabetes, placing them at high risk for the development of diabetes. The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes involves inadequate insulin secretion and resistance to the action of insulin. Suggestive data link insulin resistance and accompanying hyperglycemia to an excess of abdominal adipose tissue, a link that appears to be mediated partially by adipocyte secretion of multiple adipokines that mediate inflammation, thrombosis, atherogenesis, hypertension, and insulin resistance. The adipokine adiponectin has reduced expression in obesity and appears to be protective against the development of type 2 diabetes. Current recommendations to prevent type 2 diabetes center on lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. Clinical trials have established the efficacy of lifestyle intervention, as well as pharmacologic interventions that target glycemic control or fat metabolism. However, diabetes did develop in a substantial percentage of individuals who received intensive intervention in these trials. Thus there is an unmet need for additional strategies in high-risk individuals. Recent data suggest thiazolidinediones and blockade of the endocannabinoid system represent novel therapeutic approaches that may be used for the prevention of diabetes.

Keywords: cardiometabolic risk, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, insulin resistance, endocannabinoid system

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