Study confirms: knowledge of elevated blood sugar prompts lifestyle change

by Barbara Hewitt on July 1, 2015

If more people were checked for pre-diabetes they could avoid progressing to the full condition as they would be more likely to change their lifestyle, new research suggests.

Type 2 diabetes can be avoided by changes in diet and exercise, but only about one in eight people with so-called ‘pre-diabetes’, often a precursor to full-blown disease, know they have a problem, a study has found.

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Those aware of their pre-diabetes were more likely to engage in exercise and lifestyle changes

‘People with pre-diabetes who lose a modest amount of weight and increase their physical activity are less likely to develop diabetes,’ said lead study author Dr. Anjali Gopalan, a researcher at the Philadelphia VA Medical Centre.

‘Our study importantly shows that individuals with pre-diabetes who were aware of this diagnosis were more likely to engage in some of these effective and recommended healthy lifestyle changes,’ added Gopalan.

It is an important argument as the World Health Organisation says that globally one in nine adults have diabetes, most of them type 2, and the disease will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

In diabetes, average blood sugar levels are measured by the haemoglobin A1c test and levels between 5.7% and 6.4% are considered elevated, though not yet diabetic. The study points out that more than a third of adults in the US have such elevated blood sugar levels and each year about 11% of them develop diabetes.

In the study researchers identified people who said they already had diabetes and reviewed A1c test results for the rest. Out of 2,694 adults with test results showing elevated A1c, only 288 people were aware of their situation.

People who were aware of their higher blood sugar levels were about 30% more likely to exercise and get in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. They were also about 80% more likely to attempt weight loss and to have shed at least 7% of their body weight in the past year.

According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, a government backed independent panel that reviews medical evidence, screening for diabetes risk does help to identify people at risk of developing the condition and can help some of them to avert it with medication and lifestyle changes.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com 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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