Lifestyle interventions effectively treat prediabetes, review suggests

Tue, 02 Dec 2014
A new review suggests that lifestyle interventions effectively prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, there are no discernable differences between men and women in terms of effectiveness.

Prediabetes is a general term that refers to blood sugar levels that are higher than what they should be, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. 7,000,000 people in the UK are estimated to have prediabetes.

The new research, conducted at the Medical University of Vienna, found that both lifestyle and drug therapies had an equal effect on both sexes: men and women who received lifestyle interventions after their prediabetes were both 40 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes after a year. The risk of diabetes development after 3 years was reduced by 37 per cent.

Those who received lifestyle interventions also managed to lose more weight and reduce plasma glucose levels.

Dr Anna Glechner and Dr. Jurgen Harreiter, lead authors of the study, explained: "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review that assessed potential sex-specific differences in effects of preventive interventions in prediabetic people.

"Overall, based on data from more than 5,000 men and 7,400 women, our review did not find any relevant sex-specific differences in treatment effects during 1 to 6 years of active interventions. In both sexes, lifestyle and pharmacological interventions had a beneficial preventative effect on the incidence of type 2 diabetes and weight gain."

The findings could have a significant impact on the debates surrounding the term "prediabetes." Critics suggest that treating people who are not yet diabetic is expensive and unproductive. This research, however, suggests that treating prediabetes does, in fact, reduce the likelihood of patients developing type 2 diabetes.
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