Recent studies have shown that some weight loss drugs can help patients cope with diabetes. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), weight loss drugs such as Xenical can actually help lower blood sugar levels of those suffering from diabetes, while helping them lose weight at the same time.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes three main types of diabetes, each with the same symptoms, but varying in causes and population distributions.
o Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells that produces produce insulin.
o Type 2 diabetes is characterized by tissue-wide insulin resistance and sometimes progresses to loss of beta cell function.
o Gestational diabetes also involves insulin resistance. This usually affects pregnant women, wherein hormones produced during pregnancy can result in insulin resistance.
There are several factors that can lead to diabetes. One of the most crucial ones is obesity. Obesity is characterized by having excessive amounts of body fat or a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30. Too much fat produces hormones known as adipokines, which cause glucose tolerance. According to statistics, about 80-90% of Type 2 diabetics are overweight. Meanwhile, an alarming 65% of adult Americans are suffering from obesity, all of them potential diabetics. This percentage increases every year.
Finding the cure
Because of the threats posed by obesity, researchers are trying to come up with a diabetes weight loss drug that helps people lose weight and lower blood sugar at the same time. Scientists have discovered that some weight loss drug can already curb diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has also recommended taking a weight loss drug to control diabetes symptoms.
One possible diabetes weight loss drug is Xenical. Xenical contains orlistat, a chemical that can lower blood sugar levels. According to a study by the CDC, patients taking orlistat lost about four and a half pounds (or two kilograms) after only three months. However, scientists have yet to determine the long-term health benefits of taking orlistat.
Working the other way around
On the other hand, there are some diabetes drugs that can actually help you lose weight. One example is exenatide, marketed under the brand name Byetta. It was approved in April 2005 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Type 2 diabetes. Exenatide helps improve blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. Although there are still no clear findings on the effects of Exenatide as a diabetes weight loss drug, it is known to delay movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. As a result, patients get the feeling of being full before they can eat an excessive amount. Exenatide is designed only for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. It should not be used mainly as a weight loss drug.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers have also developed a new drug called rimonabant. This drug aims to reduce weight, increase "good" cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels.
Chinese researchers are also testing a possible diabetes weight loss drug to help cure Type 2 diabetes. The new drug, called Boc5, was developed by the National Center for Drug Screening and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China. Although Boc5 is not yet powerful enough as a diabetes or weight loss drug, it is still in the process of development and can be classified as an incretin mimetic.
In the end, there is still no definite drug that can cure both diabetes and obesity. All the drugs mentioned are still up for further studies, with long-term effects still unknown. At present, the best solution is to undergo a strict diet program that involves eating less and exercising more. Because there is a correlation between obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the first step to lowering your blood sugar levels is to lose weight.
It is also important to ask for professional help before taking any drug related to weight loss and diabetes. Research about the drug and learn how it works, possible side effects, and precautions. Finally, ask your doctor for advice on the best way to manage diabetes and maintain a healthy weight.