Monday, July 7, 2008

Treating type 2 diabetes: Diet and exercise "not the reality"

Oh, this kind of thing infuriates me: Tonight I spotted this article calling for more aggressive (read: drug-dependent) methods of treating type 2 diabetes.

The article offers quote from doctors who recommend treating type 2 diabetes as aggressively as possible — that is, by sticking type 2 diabetics with insulin, as well as several oral medications, right away.

The accepted treatment plan for type 2 diabetes right now is to advocate lifestyle changes — such as a healthier diet, increased exercise, and weight loss — and prescribe an oral medication to help resensitize the body to its own insulin. This is because type 2 diabetics don't have a problem with making insulin, but with using it — in fact, usually their bodies make too much insulin in an attempt to compensate for soaring blood sugars. So why you want to go and dump more insulin into these people is beyond me.

An aggravating little tidbit from the article:

DeFronzo acknowledges the benefits of lifestyle changes. "If you could get type 2 patients close to an ideal body weight, my guess is you could control 60% of them with just diet and exercise, no medications," he says.

But because 80% to 90% of diabetes patients are overweight and fail to shed the excess pounds, says DeFronzo, "that's not the reality."

What?! Since when is advocating good health "not the reality"? Personally, I think taking an aggressive drug-dependent approach to treating diabetes is simply going to give overweight, type 2 diabetes-prone people the impression that they don't have to watch their weight, eat healthy food, or exercise. Why should they? There's a pill for that!