In addition to the problems with an increase in insulin resistance, the release of insulin by the pancreas may also be defective and suboptimal. In fact, there is a known steady decline in beta cell production of insulin in type 2 diabetes that contributes to worsening glucose control. (This is a major factor for many patients with type 2 diabetes who ultimately require insulin therapy.) Finally, the liver in these patients continues to produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis despite elevated glucose levels. The control of gluconeogenesis becomes compromised.
The AHA/ASA recommends a diet that is low in sodium, is high in potassium, and promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products for reducing BP and lowering the risk of stroke. Other recommendations include increasing physical activity (30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity on a daily basis) and losing weight (for overweight and obese persons).
The first line of treatment for hypertension is lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, physical exercise, and weight loss. Though these have all been recommended in scientific advisories, a Cochrane systematic review found no evidence for effects of weight loss diets on death, long-term complications or adverse events in persons with hypertension. The review did find a decrease in blood pressure. Their potential effectiveness is similar to and at times exceeds a single medication. If hypertension is high enough to justify immediate use of medications, lifestyle changes are still recommended in conjunction with medication.
The WHO estimates that diabetes mellitus resulted in 1.5 million deaths in 2012, making it the 8th leading cause of death. However another 2.2 million deaths worldwide were attributable to high blood glucose and the increased risks of cardiovascular disease and other associated complications (e.g. kidney failure), which often lead to premature death and are often listed as the underlying cause on death certificates rather than diabetes. For example, in 2014, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that diabetes resulted in 4.9 million deaths worldwide, using modeling to estimate the total number of deaths that could be directly or indirectly attributed to diabetes.
How to treat metabolic syndrome is controversial. Because there are several potential markers, the public health community has struggled with the decision of how best to define, diagnose and treat it. Nutritional approaches have generally been downplayed in favor of multiple medications that target the individual markers. Conventional recommendations tend to emphasize caloric restriction and reduced fat intake, even though metabolic syndrome can best be described as carbohydrate intolerance. The most effective treatment for metabolic syndrome is to control the intake of carbs, not fat. In fact, restricting dietary fat and replacing it with carbohydrate actually makes many of the problems of metabolic syndrome worse. The metabolic syndrome paradigm has therefore caused a great deal of distress—and pushback—among those advocating low-fat diets. For more on how to prevent metabolic syndrome, see How to Reduce Your Risk for Metabolic Syndrome.
The brain is crucial in development of metabolic syndrome, modulating peripheral carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. The metabolic syndrome can be induced by overfeeding with sugar or fructose, particularly concomitantly with high-fat diet. The resulting oversupply of omega-6 fatty acids, particularly arachidonic acid (AA), is an important factor in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.
In the US, 84.1 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. But through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, you can learn practical, real-life changes that can cut your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% (71% if you’re 60 or older).