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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type two diabetes is the most common form and is growing dramatically. Why does it happen? What are the signs, symptoms, and risk factors?

By
Rob Lamberts, MD,
Episode #019

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

The trouble caused by insulin resistance does not start when a person develops full-blown diabetes, it starts much earlier in the form of a condition known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome used to be called syndrome x, which I think sounds much cooler - it kind of sounds like you are a mutant super hero. I guess they didn’t want people to think it was cool to have this condition, so they renamed it something dull.

Metabolic syndrome is basically a pre-diabetic state, and is defined by having at least three of the following:

  • Triglyceride Cholesterol over 150

  • HDL (or good cholesterol) under 40

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Mild elevation of blood glucose level

  • Abdominal obesity, defined as having a waste line over 40 inches for men and 36 inches for women.

So what’s the big deal? First off, people with metabolic syndrome will frequently become diabetics over time. More importantly, however, is the fact that people with metabolic syndrome are at significantly higher risk of having heart problems and other serious problems. This increase in risk is felt to be related to the increased insulin levels, not high glucose levels.

Metabolic syndrome usually doesn’t have any symptoms at all, and can go on for years without being detected.

Once the blood glucose level goes up enough, a person with metabolic syndrome is considered diabetic. Diabetics have an even higher risk of heart disease and the other complications of high blood sugar come into play.

How to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Both metabolic syndrome and diabetes will get better if a person reduces their abdominal fat.

Both metabolic syndrome and diabetes will get better if a person reduces their abdominal fat.
 
But as many people know, just because something sounds simple, it doesn’t mean it is easy. Even without weight loss, decreasing the consumption of carbohydrates will bring down the blood glucose levels. Upon first diagnosing patients with Type 2 diabetes, I generally send them to a dietician so they can learn exactly what they should and shouldn’t eat.

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