Do you believe that there is one simple blood test that could prevent a person from developing type 2 diabetes? Well, there is. It is called a C-Peptide blood test and will give you an idea as to how much insulin you make. If the results indicate there are above normal amounts of insulin circulating in your blood, this may be a sign that your body has become resistant to the effects of insulin, thereby causing your pancreas to start overproducing insulin to compensate. The idea here is that if a normal amount of insulin can't get the job done then maybe more will.
You see before insulin is insulin, it is proinsulin, a long chain of carbon atoms with various attachments. When this long chain is cleaved into two shorter chains, one half of the resulting chain is called a C-peptide and the other is referred to as insulin. There should be a 1:1 ratio between the two. By measuring the C-peptide chains in the blood you can determine the amount of insulin.
In the vast majority of those people that develop type 2 diabetes, an over production of insulin, or hyperinsulinemia, precedes the under production of insulin when blood sugar levels begin to rise, eventually reaching abnormally high levels characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
It is realistic to believe that if elevated levels of insulin in the blood, hyperinsulinemia, could be identified sometime before the insulin producing beta cells begin to fatigue and stop working, and steps could be taken to reduce insulin levels in the blood to more normal levels, then maybe the development of type 2 diabetes could be diverted.
It can justifiably be argued that everybody should have a C-Peptide test at regular intervals to see if they are elevated. If so, patients could be counseled early as to how they may modify risk factors (their lifestyle) such that the progression to type 2 diabetes may be halted. Once my patients learn the pathophysiology of their diabetes, many are quick to ask why they never had a C-peptide performed, thinking as I have just written, “If I had known I was developing a problem maybe I could have done something about it before so many of my beta cells quit working and now have diabetes which I can never get rid of.”
Consider that two major studies, the Da Quang study and the Finnish study both demonstrated that with appropriate lifestyle interventions over half of the participants studied that were on their way to developing type 2 diabetes had their blood sugar levels drop back into the normal ranges.
I encourage people that have family members or close blood relatives with type 2 diabetes to ask their doctors to perform a C-Peptide blood test every so often to see if insulin levels are elevated. I also encourage people that are somewhat overweight (even as little as 10-15 pounds) and get little to no exercise request this simple blood test from their doctor.
I am not being dramatic when I say it may provide the “heads up” that could save your life.
Milt Bedingfield is a certified diabetes educator and exercise physiologist.
Milt's other website can be found at: http ://www.NewlyDiagnosedDiabetes.com.