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Study Offers Promise For Predicting Risk Of Diabetes

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 12:21 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Diabetes, Diabetes Drugs, Insulin, Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Icon


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons / Diabetes Icon

New research, presented at the American Association of Diabetes conference, suggests blood glucose and insulin sensitivity begins to change several years before the onset of diabetes.

Years of excessive weight gain, overeating and lack of exercise all help to trigger the process.

Scientists in the United Kingdom and Denmark followed 6,538 adults without Type 2 diabetes over a 10-year period. In that time, 505 cases were diagnosed. Researchers than examined the patients’ fasting blood glucose levels, glucose levels after a standard glucose test, insulin sensitivity and the function of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.

They found, that in diabetic participants, a linear increase was seen in fasting glucose followed by a steep increase starting three years prior to official diagnosis. A rapid increase three years before diagnosis was also seen in post-meal glucose levels. Beta-cell function increased three to four years before diagnosis but decreased in the final three years before diagnosis.

The researchers are hopeful that their findings could help efforts to develop accurate models to predict a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“This study provides better data than previous studies in showing that those who are at risk of developing diabetes have signs several years before the disease is clinically diagnosed,” said Judy O’Sullivan, of the British Heart Foundation.

The findings, published online in the Lancet, reinforce the opinion that frequent, routine screening could lead to significant gains in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease.

An estimated 24 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes, a staggering increase of 15 percent in two years, according to the CDC.

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. #

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