Glucose Regulation Helps Prevent Diabetes Development

by Mark Benson on June 15, 2012

Prediabetics have hope

Individuals that have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes have a lower risk to develop the disease when their blood glucose levels are normalized in time. This study was conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine and was published in the journal The Lancet.

According to Leigh Perreault MD, a researcher at the CU School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health, “The importance of this analysis is clear. Physicians should seek to restore normal glucose regulation in their patients with pre-diabetes.”

The research found that those at high risk for Type 2 diabetes that experience a period of normal glucose regulation are 56 percent less risk in developing the disease a decade later.

Back in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 79 million Americans or nearly 35 percent of the US population are pre-diabetic. Nearly eleven percent would eventually develop the condition, further fueling the Type 2 diabetes epidemic. With this as a backdrop, there is a clear need to reformulate prevention strategies to effectively reduce the disease rates overall.

Perreault is also an associate professor of medicine and public health, conducting the research along with fellow researchers in the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. They used the results from the DPPOS or Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study, the research effort to examine long term outcomes in patients that participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program. The DPP study had 3,000 participants diagnosed with pre-diabetes and an earlier analysis of the DPP and DPPOS data indicated that lifestyle intervention and drug treatment can help in reducing the progression of pre-diabetes into full blown diabetes. The new research focused on the patients that were able to avoid diabetes development, but also returned to normal glucose levels at some time during the period.

Participants had experienced a 56% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes, regardless as to how they returned to normal glucose regulation even for a short period of time. These findings are important for those formulating diabetes reduction programs as there may need to be a shift in the standard of care from early and aggressive glucose lowering treatments in patients with the greatest risk of contracting full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

Perreault further added, “Interventions that simply maintain pre-diabetes, even where overt diabetes is avoided short term are not enough as the long term risk remains. Strategies and follow-up should focus on achieving normal glucose regulation, by whatever means and however transient, to ensure the greatest reduction in diabetes risk for those with pre-diabetes.”

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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