Beat it

Beat it

New test to pinpoint onset of diabetes brings hope to sufferers

 Sugar companies and junk food makers should be forced to pay for the researched need to cure the problem the more or less created



By Miriam Stoppard

At the moment, the first ¬detectable sign of diabetes is raised blood sugar. If only we could spot diabetes “coming on” before the blood sugar rises and harm is done...
Researchers claim a new test can diagnose Type 2 diabetes years earlier by examining proteins in the blood.
This early warning could help prevent a whole range of complication such as strokes and heart attacks, blindness, kidney disease and nerve and circulatory damage. And this new blood test could be available in five years or so.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and accounts for 90% of more than three million Britons with diabetes. Researchers from the University of Manchester and King’s College London, say that by the time blood sugar is raised, some of the damage caused by the disease in its early stages has already been inflicted.
To find out whether testing for other markers such as fatty molecules would give an early warning, they studied almost 100 women who had been rated at high, medium or low risk of diabetes two years earlier.
Although their blood sugar levels were normal, there were abnormalities in the blood, including some found in fat, as well as issues with vitamin D and some proteins. Signs were also found in their blood vessels. Those at a high risk of developing diabetes had the least healthy arteries and veins.
All complications linked to diabetes, from blindness to heart attacks, are thought to arise from blood vessel damage. The researchers are refining the test and say it could become widely available to flag up Type 2 diabetes months or even years early.
Researcher Kennedy Cruickshank of King’s College London, says: “The current method of categorising Type 2 diabetes solely by a patient’s glucose levels means that many will already have suffered blood vessel damage and so will experience poorer outcomes.
“The new test may lead to a change in the definition of Type 2 diabetes so that people who test positive are said to have it, rather than merely be at risk of it.”
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, could also lead to new drugs for diabetes.
None of this means that the current approaches to controlling diabetes such as weight loss and exercise are not still important.

And Professor Cruickshank says that the existing treatments that focus on lo