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Diabetes Health Center

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Most Type 2 Diabetics Don't Know Disease Cause


"These findings are alarming and demonstrate the critical need for greater education about insulin resistance to help patients keep their diabetes in check," said Christine Tobin, president of AADE, in a prepared statement. "If we can help patients understand the need to directly treat insulin resistance and take appropriate medications early in the disease, we will likely improve their overall diabetes management." The AADE study was funded by SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, maker of Avandia (rosiglitazone), a drug designed to treat insulin resistance.

Among the medications for treating insulin resistance is a new class of drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZD), or "insulin sensitizers." Instead of trying to make the body produce more insulin, TZDs help make the body more sensitive and responsive to the insulin already available. The AADE study noted that only 13% of patients taking oral medications were using TZDs. Those surveyed who understood insulin resistance were also more likely to be taking these new drugs.

Bakris says type 2 diabetes should not think taking medication alone will solve their illness. He says since most patients are overweight, it's also important to exercise and control their diet. "Patients need to work closely with their doctors to develop an overall strategy," Bakris tells WebMD. "And the doctors need to better educate their patients about overall treatment strategies."

Vital Information:

  • A study found nearly 70% of patients with type 2 diabetes had never heard of insulin resistance, which is a major cause of the disease.
  • A new class of drugs, called thiazolidinediones, helps the body become more sensitive and responsive to insulin that is available, leading to tighter glucose control.
  • Those who have never heard of insulin resistance were less likely to have good control of their diabetes or be on the newer medications that could benefit them.
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