Breakthrough could halt Type 2 diabetes

A BREAKTHROUGH by scientists at Trinity College could prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, affecting about 14% of over 40s and which is obesity related.

The research, state-funded through Science Foundation Ireland and which involved collaborators in other universities, including UCD, claims to have found what could be the underlying cause of the disease.

Scientists believe a hormone known as IAPP, which gets deposited in the pancreas, is the trigger for the disease.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It develops when the beta-cells in the pancreas start to become inefficient and produce too little insulin for the body’s needs.

This inadequacy is most pronounced after eating. In addition, the cells in the body may become less responsive to insulin. In this case, even though you may still be making some insulin, it cannot do its job properly.

It usually occurs in older people, although it is becoming more common among younger people, partly due to lifestyle factors such as diet, lack of physical activity and obesity.

According to Dr Anna Clarke of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland, being overweight increases your risk of developing several serious health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

She said the spread of Type 2 diabetes is a serious risk in this country with the incidence of it rising by at least 3.7% annually.

It is estimated 129,052 people here have adult Type 2 diabetes, or 4.3% of the adult population.

It accounts for approximately 85%-90% of all cases of diabetes in European countries.

The condition responds well to weight loss through dietary regulation. However, sometimes weight loss is not enough and tablets are required to help the person’s own insulin to work or additional insulin may be required. This type of diabetes is also known as adult-onset or maturity-onset diabetes.

A weight gain of 11 to 18 pounds increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight.

It is estimated there will be a 62% increase of people with diabetes in Ireland by 2020. Already 200,000 people are living with the condition – Type 1 and Type 2.

Already, it is believed diabetes costs the country close to €600m each year.


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