People who develop type 2 diabetes may show early warning signs of the disease more than 10 years before their diagnosis,
according to new research presented at the 2018 meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Berlin, Germany.
This Japanese study tracked more than 27,000 adults (average age 49) between 2005 and 2016. None of the people had diabetes at the beginning of the study. By the end of the 11-year study, 1,067 people had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found several risk factors were more common among individuals who went on to develop type 2 diabetes compared with those who did not. In particular, body mass index (BMI), fasting blood sugar, and insulin resistance (where the body does not respond properly to the effects of insulin) started to increase up to 10 years before the diagnosis.
The differences between the two groups appeared to widen over time. For example, fasting blood sugar levels gradually rose in people who eventually developed diabetes, from 5.7 mmol/L 10 years before diagnosis, to 5.8 mmol/L five years before, to 6.1 mmol/L one year before. In people who did not develop diabetes, fasting blood sugar levels remained relatively steady at about 5.2 mmol/L over the entire decade.
These important findings may result in people being able to take earlier steps to prevent either the development of prediabetes or the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
To find out your risk for type 2 diabetes, take the Diabetes Canada Test.
(This article appeared in Diabetes Dialogue, Spring 2019)
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