Diabetes mellitus type 2 and obesity are two diseases with continuously growing prevalence over the past decades that have both reached pandemic dimensions in their distribution. Both conditions can be considered chronic diseases, which lead to impaired quality of life and a high morbidity and mortality risk, and which require long-term care by the health care system. During the past years, scientific research has contributed to a better understanding of the interrelations between the two diseases, and to define new laboratory biomarkers for their classification. New biomarkers of this class are the proteins adiponectin, intact proinsulin and leptin. They play important roles in the pathophysiological development of both diseases.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is one of the most frequent diseases worldwide, affecting approximately 4-5% of the world population. The major underlying mechanisms are the development of systemic insulin resistance and secretion disorder of the insulin producing pancreatic beta-cells. Insulin resistance is characterized by a general decrease of the insulin sensitivity of the peripheral cells, which on a receptor level is associated with a genetically determined change in the insulin receptor molecule and a reduction in the overall number of insulin receptors on the cells. Several post receptor defects have also been described in recent literature.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is diagnosed via an elevated blood glucose level (WHO: Fasting glucose level > 127 mg/dL, glucose level > 200mg/dL 2 hours after an oral 75 gram glucose challenge.)
Obesity is defined by increased body fat mass which exceeds by far the normal reference range of a given population.
With type 2 diabetes, the risks associated with the disease may be managed with lifestyle changes, especially losing weight through exercise and eating healthier foods.