Type 2 Diabetes – Insulin Sensitivity Response Differs in Obese Adolescents And Obese Adults

Teenagers often respond poorly to medications designed to increase insulin sensibility, compared with an adult. It has been thought adolescents have more severe cases than adults. Or could there be some other difference?

In July of 2017, the journal Pediatric Diabetes reported on a study performed at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States and different research centers in the USA and Lebanon. The study included…

  • 34 obese adolescents, and
  • 17 obese adults.

Both groups had a comparable percentage of body fat, but the children had twice the insulin concentration, usually interpreted as higher insulin resistance. (Obesity is associated with low insulin sensitivity). Other tests also showed lower insulin sensitivity in the adolescents, as well as lower high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol or HDL). From these results, it was concluded obese youths and adults were different in that the former were more resistant to insulin than adults which could explain why adults respond better to drugs designed to increase insulin sensitivity.

The list of medications known to increase insulin sensitivity include…

  • metformin and the thiazolidinediones. The latter is made up of Avandia, or rosiglitazone, Actos, also known as pioglitazone.
  • another glitazone, Rezulin, or troglitazone, was removed from the market after causing liver damage. The glitazones, as they are called for short, build up insulin sensitivity by working directly with fat cells, liver cells, and muscle cells. The process involves fatty acids in the body.

Metformin or Glucophage is usually the first drug of choice for Type 2 diabetes. It works by encouraging the pancreas to make a higher insulin response to the sugar intake and help the liver to make less sugar. Its safety lies in the fact it does not increase insulin until and unless there is a need. Hypoglycemia, or overly low blood sugar, is not a problem.

Type 2 diabetes rarely occurs in normal-weight individuals, so it is one good reason to maintain a healthy weight. The average body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. Simple online calculators are available for finding your BMI. If it is higher than what is healthy, see your doctor for a weight-loss plan.

Substituting fruit for highly-processed baked goods and other desserts are a positive way of keeping your calorie intake down and fiber intake up. Filling up on salads before dinner is also helpful. If you make it a habit of eating out of control when eating with friends or family, going to the table later than everyone else and being one of the first to leave should help you reduce your calorie intake.