Diabetes Complications

Screening calls after prediabetes linked with mortality and cardiovascular disease risk in large study

Calls have been made for more prediabetes screening after a study of 10,000,000 people highlighted the major health risk posed by the condition.

Chinese researchers combed through 129 studies and concluded that prediabetes, where people are deemed to be at high risk of type 2 diabetes, led to an increased risk of mortality and cardiovascular events.

This finding was based on both people in the general population as well as patients with atherosclerotic (a narrowing of the arteries) cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Yuli Huang and fellow researchers at Southern Medical University in Foshan, China, had carried out a review of existing evidence looking at prediabetes and health outcomes in 2016. With many studies published since then, the team embarked on a new review of all the relevant studies.

This new research looked into 129 studies involving 10,069,955 participants. According to the results, people with prediabetes had a significantly higher risk for all-cause mortality as well as conditions including CVD, coronary heart disease and stroke when compared to those without prediabetes. The average follow-up period was 9.8 years.

There was a difference in the risk for mortality and CVD in the general population depending on which definition of prediabetes was applied, the researchers said.

The researchers said: “[d]ifferent definitions of prediabetes were associated with a similar prognosis in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.”

An example being that the mortality risk was significant higher when prediabetes was defined as impaired fasting glucose according to the criteria of the World Health Organization criteria and American Diabetes Association, but this was not the case when both definitions were applied to glycated haemoglobin levels.

The researchers said that the findings suggested that “[s]creening and appropriate management of prediabetes might contribute to primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

They concluded: “Considering the high prevalence of prediabetes, and the robust and significant association between prediabetes and health risk shown in our study, successful intervention in this large population could have a major effect on public health.”

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The study was published in The BMJ.

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