What Is "Brown Fat?"

blood-glucose-testWhat exactly is “brown fat,” and what does it have to do with your diabetes risk?

LIKE BlackDoctor.org on Facebook! Get Your Daily Medicine…For LIFE!

According to a new study, certain people have lower amounts of so-called “brown fat” than others, which might help explain why some have a much greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Unlike white fat, brown fat burns calories instead of storing them, and some studies have shown that brown fat has beneficial effects on glucose (blood sugar) tolerance, fat metabolism and body weight.

Research has shown that compared to whites, blacks are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and to develop it at a younger age. However, little has been known about the reasons behind these differences.

The results of the study were published online Nov. 12 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

“Our findings suggest that making more [brown fat] or increasing its activity could have great therapeutic potential, helping increase the clearance of glucose and fatty acids and converting surplus white fat into heat, potentially lessening the risk of diabetes,” lead authors Mariette Boon and Patrick Rensen, from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said in a journal news release.

The study authors noted that recent research has shown that 10 days of exposure to cold can boost brown fat in humans, and said that future studies should examine the effectiveness of this strategy, and other methods such as medication, in increasing brown fat activity.

Although the researchers suggested that there may be a link between lower levels of brown fat and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, this study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

1 in 10 People Will Have Diabetes By 2035

A diabetic woman testing her blood glucose levelOne in 10 people globally will have diabetes by 2035, according to a concerning new report.

LIKE BlackDoctor.org on Facebook! Get Your Daily Medicine…For LIFE!

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recently released its sixth edition of the Diabetes Atlas. The report estimates how many adults between the ages of 20 to 79 will be affected by the disease in the future.

By the end of this year, the IDF estimates that 382 million people will have diabetes around the world. By 2035, that number will skyrocket to 592 million. For comparison, about 285 million people had the disease just four years ago.

Eighty percent of people with the disease live in low- and middle-income countries, and most of them are between 40 and 59 years old. The organization also said that one person dies from diabetes every six seconds, or about 5.1 million deaths annually.

“Diabetes is a disease of development. The misconception that diabetes is ‘a disease of the wealthy’ is still held, to the detriment of desperately needed funding to combat the pandemic. In coming years we have much to do in making the case for those who have diabetes now and will have in the future,” Michael Hirst, president of the IDF, said in a statement.

When it comes to the U.S., the IDF estimates that 9.2 percent of the population will have a form of diabetes by the end of this year. That’s about 24.4 million people who will have it by the end of 2013 — 6.8 million of whom will go undiagnosed. About 192,725 Americans will die from the disease this year..

The IDF estimates that the percentage of U.S. residents affected by diabetes will increase to 11.6 by 2035, which will be 29.7 million people.

About 8.3 percent of the U.S. population had a form of diabetes in 2011, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes is a disease that causes people to have higher blood glucose, or sugar, levels than normal. The vast majority of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, a problem in which the person is not sufficiently using a hormone called insulin. Insulin is responsible for breaking down sugars and using energy derived from them.

Patients have to control their diets and may have to take additional insulin and other medications to balance out their blood sugar levels. If left untreated, diabetes can cause complications including glaucoma, cataracts, other eye problems, neuropathy (nerve damage) that leads to numbness in the feet, skin infections, high blood pressure, depression, hearing loss and oral health problems.

IDF points out that the number of people with diabetes, especially the Type 2 form, has increased in every country. The number of total diabetes cases have increased 4.4 percent over the last two years, now affecting more than 5 percent of the global population.

According to the report, despite better treatments and improving education strategies, the battle to protect people from diabetes and its complications “is being lost.”