Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Confronting Prediabetes

Although not commonly listed as a chronic disease, prediabetes is a chronic disease that carries many risks. It raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, and it raises the risk of stroke and heart attack. According to the CDC, 84% of the adults in America have prediabetes. Further, most people who have prediabetes are not aware that they have the condition. It is estimated that 90% of people who have prediabetes don’t know they have prediabetes. The sooner prediabetes is diagnosed, the faster prediabetes treatment can start. So methods to predict prediabetes and to treat prediabetes can benefit at least 1/3 of the US adult population.

One study done in China indicated that it may be possible to isolate individuals in lean populations who may be at a high risk of prediabetes and diabetes. During a six year period, approximately 800 children and adults were studied who eventually developed prediabetes or diabetes. Seven hundred and thirty seven of the studied subjects were lean at baseline and during the follow-up phase.

The investigators concluded that even if they are lean, individuals whose fasting glucose is in the top tertile of the normal fasting glucose range have a higher risk of prediabetes and diabetes. And this is often overlooked because individuals are not overweight or obese.

Furthermore, when prediabetes is diagnosed in a patient, the condition is typically not addressed by the clinician. In one study, only 22.8% of patients with prediabetes between 2013 and 2015 indicated that they were treated for the disease. Treatment for prediabetes commonly includes lifestyle change. But patients with hyperlipidemia or obesity were more likely to be treated with lifestyle change than those with prediabetes.

Therefore, based on the above studies, physicians and other practitioners should pay more attention to patients who are close to the upper limits of the normal fasting glucose and other glucose measurement guidelines. Further, practitioners should treat prediabetes more aggressively in the future. By taking the appropriate actions, practitioners can do a lot to reduce the number of patients who eventually get type 2 diabetes.


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