Warning signs of diabetes present before prediabetes
Most people who have type 2 diabetes go through a stage of prediabetes, where their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have suggested that risk factors like obesity and elevated fasting glucose may be present up to 10 years before someone is diagnosed with diabetes. But recent research suggests that signs of type 2 diabetes can be identified much earlier.
Of 15,778 individuals with normal blood glucose at the start of the study, 4781 went on to develop prediabetes over the study period.
In this Japanese study carried out between 2005 and 2016, researchers from Aizawa Hospital in Matsumoto and Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine assessed fasting blood glucose, body mass index (BMI) and insulin sensitivity in 27,392 non-diabetic participants. The participants. mostly men, were between the ages of 30 and 50 years. At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured fasting glucose and average blood glucose (HbA1c). The participants were followed until a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, or the end of 2016 — whichever came first. Insulin resistance occurs when cells of the body do not respond properly to the hormone insulin, which can lead to a host of health problems, while a higher BMI is a big risk factor for type-2 diabetes.
Over the study period, 1067 new type 2 diabetes cases were diagnosed. The researchers found that on average, these individuals had a higher BMI and increased fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance up to 10 years before diagnosis. Of 15,778 individuals with normal blood glucose at the start of the study, 4781 went on to develop prediabetes over the study period. The researchers found that these individuals exhibited the same abnormalities as those who developed type 2 diabetes. But the warning signs were milder and present at least 10 years before the diagnosis of prediabetes. This suggests that the warning signs for type 2 diabetes may be present 20 years before the actual diagnosis.
While further research is needed to clarify the timeline of type 2 diabetes development, this research has important implications for the prevention and intervention of type 2 diabetes.
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