DALLAS – September 30, 2021 – An international panel of experts from four renowned diabetes research centers, including UT Southwestern Medical Center, reviewed the current literature and recommends a critical change in the treatment of type 2 diabetes to ensure focus first on obesity and second blood sugar control.
Endocrinologist Ildiko Lingvay, MD, MPH, MSCS
“We know that obesity contributes to the progression of diabetes. What’s new is that instead of focusing exclusively on lowering blood sugar, we recommend that the primary approach to treating type 2 diabetes be treating obesity, ”said lead author. . Ildiko Lingvay, MD, MPH, MSCS, professor of internal medicine and population and data sciences at UT Southwestern, ranked among the 25 best hospitals for the care of diabetes and endocrinology.
Researchers say that a decrease of 15% or more in body weight can have a disease modifying effect in type 2 diabetes, a result impossible to achieve with any other hypoglycemic intervention. The new direction would require updating current treatment guidelines and providing meaningful training to providers, they note. The panel’s recommendations are published in The Lancet and were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference. The author’s disclosures are listed in the manuscript.
The current approach to treating diabetes is based on clinical studies from the 1980s, which found that lowering blood sugar leads to fewer complications of the disease. These early results have supported the treatment of blood sugar as a key target, said Dr Lingvay.
“The problem with this approach is that it does not address the central problem and does not offer the possibility of reversing the disease,” said Dr Lingvay, who heads an active clinical research program in the division of endocrinology. from UT Southwestern. “We offer a proactive approach. Let us address the cause of the disease: obesity.
This latest discovery is a continuation of Dr. Lingvay’s career efforts to research the best ways to provide the most effective clinical care to patients with type 2 diabetes. As an early career faculty member in 2005, Dr. Lingvay participated in the First Class of UT Southwestern’s Clinical and Translational Research Investigators Program, a rigorous, multi-year program designed for clinical investigators and junior faculty who are in the process of securing extra grants. muros and who hold great promise in becoming independently funded researchers. She then received a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award for studying the role of pancreatic triglyceride buildup in beta cell failure and type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease caused by obesity or by abnormalities in metabolism. More than 10% of the US population has been diagnosed with diabetes, and 1.5 million more are diagnosed each year.
Weight loss surgery can be effective for obese patients, but not all patients have access to this option. “It is difficult to achieve lasting weight loss. Most lifestyle interventions result in gradual weight loss over six months, followed by a plateau and weight gain over one to three years, ”added Dr. Lingvay. “New weight loss drugs and those in development will help patients achieve long-term weight management success. “
The researchers also stressed the importance of advocating for insurance coverage that supports the treatment of obesity and diabetes, and of working in public health to improve access to care and reduce disparities.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has been awarded six Nobel Prizes and includes 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 14 researchers of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The more than 2,800 full-time faculty are responsible for revolutionary medical advancements and are committed to having physicians in the Southwest provide care in approximately 80 specialties to more than 117,000 inpatients, over 360 000 cases in the emergency room and supervise nearly 3 million outpatient consultations per year. .