Diabetes Update: Type 2, Type 1, Health Care Reform, New Blood Glucose Medications & More

Experts share what's new in diabetes research, prevention, and treatment.

Type 2: Treat Today, Don't Delay

The evidence is piling up in favor of fast action: "We now have amazing data pointing out that putting in the effort in the early years to get and keep your blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids in healthy ranges pays dividends for decades, even if your control waxes and wanes over the years," says Richard Bergenstal, M.D., executive director of the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet in Minneapolis and immediate past president of Medicine and Science for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

At diagnosis, people with type 2 diabetes (PWDs type 2) have, at most, half of their insulin-making pancreatic beta cells left. Immediate treatment can preserve some remaining beta cells.

At diagnosis is also the time to treat insulin resistance. While there's debate about which blood glucose-lowering medicine to start (metformin is most common), there's no debate that type 2 calls for an insulin-sensitizing medicine. Bergenstal also emphasizes the value of losing a modest 10-20 pounds as soon as possible to make medicines work better, reduce the number of meds needed, and delay the need for higher doses as diabetes progresses.