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How brown fat could aid diabetes treatment

13 November 2014 09:21

Reducing blood sugar levels is key in the treatment of diabetes

Reducing blood sugar levels is key in the treatment of diabetes

"Ground-breaking" research has identified a way in which the body's brown fat could help treat Type 2 diabetes and even obesity.

Brown fat is deemed to be a "good" fat and keeps the body warm by burning fat and sugar. The good fat is stimulated by the cold and exercise - which is why more of the fat is found in babies than adults.

When fuelled, brown fat uses up glucose and thus reduces blood sugar levels in the body, which is vital for diabetes patients to control.

A healthy diet is one way for a patient to prevent or manage diabetes and, if controlled effectively, a person is likely to be able to lead an ordinary life, whether that's at home or away. Pre-existing medical travel insurance is available for diabetes and other medical conditions for that extra peace of mind when travelling.

But now scientists at Stockholm University have unearthed a new technique that boosts glucose in brown fat - thus leading the way for the development of a drug which could spark glucose uptake and lower blood sugar levels to aid the management of Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Tore Bengtsson said this is a "completely new" way to look at treating the disease and which could prove useful not only in Type 2 diabetes patients but for those tackling obesity as well.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

:: It develops when glucose builds up in the body. This occurs when insulin-producing cells stop working effectively, or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin - meaning normal blood glucose levels are not maintained.

What is insulin?

:: It s a hormone and helps the body use the glucose in blood and turn it into energy.

Who does it affect?

:: Typically people over the age of 40 and those who are overweight or obese have a higher risk factor of developing the disease.

:: Having a close relative with the condition is another risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.