Type 2 Diabetes Is a Whole Body Disease
4 Min. Read | November 16, 2021
Get Tested To Get Motivated And Prevent It
Type 2 Diabetes is about a heck of a lot more than blood sugar levels. It can impact nearly every system in your body from your heart to your eyes. Recent research has strengthened the links to Alzheimer’s disease and when combined with hypertension to more bone fractures. Those studies have even linked prediabetes to depression.
One of the biggest problems for the health of our nation stems from the fact that 32 million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes and 20 percent don’t know it. Prediabetes is even more likely to slide under the radar with 80 percent of the 88 million prediabetics going undiagnosed
An international team of experts from four renown diabetes research centers recently recommended a fundamental shift in the treatment of Type 2. They published guidelines in the journal Lancet saying first line therapy should be weight loss and holding off glucose lowering medication as a secondary treatment option lin. They cited research showing losing 15 percent of body weight can have more effect than medication and can actually reverse the disease.
An Epidemic of Missed Opportunities
You might be among the half of insured Americans who don’t get annual blood exams. Tests for biomarkers in your blood can surface undiagnosed early stages of diabetes. The GoodCell Baseline Health Panel lets you track these independent of an annual exam, but still allows you to share information with your physician if you choose.
Nightly TV ads show patients saying that they can control their diabetes and their levels of HbA1c, which is a biomarker with well-established benchmarks for diabetes. What you might not have known is that HbA1C is also great at diagnosing or predicting those at risk for prediabetes. As the international team notes, weight loss can control and potentially reverse Type 2 diabetes and lifestyle changes can prevent the slide from prediabetes to diabetes.
The GoodCell Baseline Health Panel can cue you into warning signs in your blood and provide annual motivation to exercise and control portions at meals. In the future, our genetic testing panel may also include newly discovered gene variants linked to Type 2 Diabetes. One team in England found a gene linked to a greater risk than any prior known genes. Another international team found distinct genetic fingerprints for various sub-types of diabetes.
Stem Cell Therapies Are Coming
For diabetics whose disease is poorly controlled, several groups are using stem cells to make the type of cell that normally secretes insulin, with the goal of transplanting those into patients. The Harvard Stem Cell Institute, where GoodCell co-founder Dr. David Scadden is co-director, recently announced promising results with their first patient. In a clinical trial, a patient receiving a single infusion of cells showed robust restored function of insulin secretion and blood glucose control.
Most of these early efforts target Type 1 brittle diabetics, who are most in need of alternative therapy options. But one Canadian team has plans to extend the trials to patients with treatment resistant Type 2 Diabetes. Both these trials are using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). And the Canadian team is using the patient’s own blood cells to make the iPSCs in order to avoid immune rejection of the new tissue. One of the cell types stored in GoodCell’s personal biobank can efficiently be turned into iPSCs and stem cells made from blood have been shown to be more stable than others.