Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is characterized by abnormalities in hepatic glucose production, insulin resistance, and a progressive decline in -cell function over time. To treat effectively the individual with type 2 diabetes, the provider must have a thorough understanding of the underlying pathophysiology to provide treatment that precisely addresses the metabolic abnormalities. Currently, the provider who cares for subjects with type 2 diabetes can choose an antidiabetic agent from no less than eight pharmacologic classes. These classes include agents that increase insulin secretion, improve insulin action, and delay absorption of carbohydrates. The newer treatments available, specifically incretin therapy, address a previously unmet need in diabetes by modulating glucose supply. The currently available agents can be combined and combination therapy markedly improves glycemic control. This allows the provider to design regimens to specifically address underlying abnormalities.
A1c goal recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a A1c value <7%. This is not a value considered in the normal range, as an A1c level of 4.0–6.0% is considered as the non-diabetic range. However, this level was selected on the basis of practicality and the projected reduction in complications over time. The ADA guidelines also suggest that for "the individual patient," the A1c should be "as close to normal (<6%) as possible without significant hypoglycemia". The most recent glycemic goal set by both the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the European Union–International Diabetes Federation is an A1c level <6.5%.

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