A type of ulcer-causing bacterium may be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese adults, and may offer clues on how to prevent the development of diabetes in these individuals in the future, according to a NYU Langone Medical Center study.
The bacterium, known as Helicobacter pylori, is an organism that can affect both children and adults, yet in entirely different ways. In children, it has been found to protect against asthma and allergy. Infections beginning in childhood have also been linked decades later to stomach and small intestine ulcers, as well as an increased risk for stomach cancer. It can inflame the stomach, but many people who are infected with the bacterium have no symptoms at all.
The new study found that non-diabetic adults infected with Helicobacter pylori – regardless of ulcer symptoms – were more likely to have higher blood sugar than adults without the bacterium. Researchers assessed blood sugar levels using measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin, a marker of excess glucose in the bloodstream that in recent years has become a key tool for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.
Based on the findings, antibiotics that wipe out the bacterium may also protect older, overweight people from developing diabetes. However, more research is needed to determine how eliminating the organism might affect type 2 diabetes and how it the elimination of the bacterium affects sugar breakdown in people in different weight classes.
There are 25.8 million people in the United States who have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The first line treatment for the disease is diet and exercise, however many people require medications to control their blood sugar levels.
Actos is a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert that Actos had been linked to bladder cancer. Patients who used the drug for 12 months or more were at even greater risk for developing the disease. Attorneys are Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating cases of bladder cancer in patients who used Actos.
Source: ABC News