One in two middle-aged adults will develop prediabetes despite having normal blood glucose levels, a study from the Netherlands reports.
Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes without appropriate interventio, which involves making changes to diet and lifestyle.
10,050 participants aged 45 or older were evaluated as part of the Rotterdam Study. 75 per cent had normal blood sugar levels prior to the study, 14 per cent had prediabetes and 12 per cent had type 2 diabetes.
During an average follow-up period of 7-14 years, 1149 participants with normoglycemia had developed prediabetes, 828 participants without diabetes developed type 2 diabetes and 237 participants with type 2 diabetes needed to use insulin to control their condition. The study was conducted between 1997 and 2012.
At age 45, the remaining lifetime risk of participants developing prediabetes was 48.7 per cent, 31.3 per cent for type 2 diabetes and 9.1 per cent for insulin use.
The risk for participants with prediabetes at baseline to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime was 74 per cent. Lifetime risks reduced with age, but increased due to higher BMI and waist circumference.
Individuals with severe obesity lived 10 fewer years, on average, without glucose impairment compared to those who were of a normal weight.
The researchers wrote: “Impaired glucose metabolism is a substantial burden on population health, and our findings emphasise the need for more effective prevention strategies, which should be implemented as soon in a person’s life as possible.
“The substantial lifetime risk of prediabetes and diabetes in lean individuals also supports risk factor control in non-obese individuals.”
The findings were published online in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

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