Prediabetes Usually Never Becomes Diabetes

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Prediabetes Usually Never Becomes Diabetes
Prediabetes Usually Never Becomes Diabetes

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Prediabetes usually never becomes diabetes

A new Swedish study found that older people with mildly elevated blood sugar (“prediabetes”) are more likely to not develop full-fledged diabetes. His results are published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Prediabetes usually never becomes diabetes
Prediabetes usually never becomes diabetes

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A new Swedish study found that older people with mildly elevated blood sugar (“prediabetes”) are more likely to not develop full-fledged diabetes. His results are published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Researchers followed 2575 men and women aged 60 and over who did not have diabetes for 12 years. At the start of the study, 918 people, or 36% of the group, had elevated blood sugar levels, but which were still below the threshold for diagnosing diabetes. Only 119 people (or 13%) of them subsequently developed diabetes. Another 204 (or 22%) had their blood sugar levels decreased over time.

“Development towards full-fledged diabetes is not the only direction. In fact, the likelihood of staying at prediabetes levels or even returning to normal blood sugar levels is quite high (64%) even without medication. Lifestyle changes - controlling weight and blood pressure - can help prevent further development of prediabetes,”says lead study author Ying Shang of the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The average blood sugar level over about three months can be estimated by measuring the hemoglobin A1c level. A level of 6.5% and above signals diabetes, between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered an elevated level, although this is not diabetes yet, and 5.7% or less is considered a normal level. Globally, 352 million adults have high blood sugar levels without diagnosed diabetes, and by 2045, scientists say that number will rise to 587 million, or 8.3% of the world's adult population.

Study participants were more likely to regain healthy blood sugar levels if they lost weight, had no heart disease, and had low blood pressure. Those who were obese were more likely to have diabetes progression.

One limitation of the study is that few people with prediabetes were involved to draw general conclusions. Researchers also lacked data on exactly which lifestyle changes helped prevent diabetes.

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