Control Inflammation To Reduce The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Complications

Inflammation And Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

The latest diabetes statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are alarming, disclosing that close to 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, of which about 7 million do not know they are diabetic. In addition, at least 79 million Americans have prediabetes, a state with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes, the silent killer, is not a standalone disorder. It has far-reaching effects causing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in industrialized countries.

Inflammation Plays A Key Role In Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes sugar (glucose), your body's main source of fuel. It sets off insulin resistance, i.e., failure of the body to respond to its own insulin - a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into cells and keeps a normal glucose level in the body.

More and more research shows that chronic inflammation (also known as systemic low-grade inflammation) can turn your body resistant to insulin. The elevated inflammatory cytokines can also cause pancreatic cell death or turn pancreas into fibrosis. When this occurs, your body will not make enough insulin to maintain the normal level of glucose. Insulin resistance or insufficient insulin secretion leads to Type 2 diabetes. Untreated, the consequence of Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening.

Inflammation Is The Key To Obesity-Diabetes Link

While obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, inflammation is the deciding factor. New studies suggest that without inflammation, obesity does not trigger insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes.

When a person becomes obese, they develop fatty liver, which leads to infiltration of inflammatory cells into the liver. Obesity also leads to gathering of inflammatory cells in fat tissue. These inflammatory cells are crucial players in the immune and inflammatory responses.

When inflammatory cells move into fat or liver tissue, they release cytokines, which are chemical messenger molecules used by immune and nerve cells to communicate. These cytokines cause the neighboring liver, muscle or fat cells to become insulin resistant, which in turn leads to Type 2 diabetes.

Inflammation Is Also The Key To Diabetic Complications

Diabetic complications are accountable for the vast majority of diabetes-related deaths and inflammation plays essential role in all diabetic complications.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): Inflammation results in vascular injury and plaque buildup in coronary arteries. Inflammation also increases risk for heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke by causing the plaque to rupture and clot. CVD accounts for 65 percent of all diabetes-related deaths. People with Type 2 diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have a heart attack. Moreover, these heart attacks are more serious and more likely to cause death in people with diabetes than in those without diabetes.

Nephropathy: Accumulating evidence suggests that infiltration of inflammatory cells into the kidney micro vessels causes the occurrence of diabetic nephropathy, the common reason of kidney failure and end-stage renal disease.

Retinopathy: Inflammation causes retinal vasculature damage and leads to blood vessel breakdown and macular edema, the main reason of vision loss in diabetes. Clinical studies also indicate that elevated inflammation is associated with the more severe forms of diabetic retinopathy.

Neuropathy: Diabetic patients suffer substantial wound-healing deficit and foot ulcer (diabetic foot). These wounds are featured by exaggerated and prolonged inflammatory responses. Experimental and clinical evidence indicates that hyper-inflammation causes wound matrix degradation, impaired cell growth, and excessive cell death.

Control Inflammation To Reduce The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Current advices to prevent type 2 diabetes centers on lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. Clinical trials have proven the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention, as well as pharmacologic interventions that target glycemic control and treatment of other cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. In spite of this, diabetes still developed in a substantial percentage of individuals who received intensive intervention in these trials.

Because inflammation plays a key role in type 2 diabetes and diabetic complications, control of inflammation has been recommended as a novel approach to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.

There is a large selection of anti-inflammatory drugs including popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Yet, long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs has been linked with serious side effects and safer anti-inflammatory drugs are unquestionably needed.

Anti-inflammatory Herbs For Control Of Inflammation And Diabetic Complications

There are alternative solutions to relieve chronic inflammation. A large number of medicinal herbs have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many of them have been carefully studied and a large pool of valuable information is readily available.

Based on scientific evidence, anti-inflammatory remedies may offer several advantages:

--Target a broad panel of inflammatory mediators without suppressing body's natural (innate) immune responses.

--Promote a balanced immune response, the critical defense system against stress, infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion.

--Help restore body's ability to make natural antioxidants, the most effective disease-fighting and anti-aging molecules in the body.

Anti-inflammatory herbs such as scute (Scutellaria baicalensis), coptis (Coptis chinensis), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), and turmeric (Curcuma longa) are widely used to treat and prevent diabetes and diabetic complications such as diabetic wounds and diabetic nephropathy.

Article Source: Yi Shi

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