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Glucose Regulation Shown to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Onset

Leigh Perreault (University of Colorado)

Leigh Perreault (University of Colorado)

Researchers at University of Colorado in Aurora and four other institutions in the U.S. have found people with pre-diabetes who regulate their blood glucose levels are less likely to develop diabetes. The findings of the team led by Leigh Perreault (pictured left) are published online in the journal The Lancet; paid subscription required.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 79 million Americans or 35 percent of the population have pre-diabetes, with 11 percent going on to develop the disease, that adds to the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. The CDC notes that strategies and programs which help people with pre-diabetes develop better eating habits, improve their coping skills, and increase their physical activity level have been proven to be effective.

The team that included researchers from Colorado, George Washington University, Indiana University, UCLA, and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, drew data from the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. That study examined long term outcomes in patients who took part in the Diabetes Prevention Program, which studied more than 3,000 patients with pre-diabetes.

Previous analyses of data from these studies showed that lifestyle interventions and drug treatment can reduce the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes. In the new research, Perreault and colleagues focused on patients who were able to revert to normal glucose function at some point during the study period, as well as avoid developing diabetes.

The researchers found these participants who reverted to normal glucose functioning experienced a 56 percent reduction in progression to diabetes, regardless of the method used to achieve normal glucose regulation, even if only transitory. The findings indicate that diabetes reduction strategies may want to include shifting the standard of care to early and aggressive glucose-lowering treatments in patients at highest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“Strategies and follow-up should focus on achieving normal glucose regulation, by whatever means and however transient,” says Perreault, “to ensure the greatest reduction in diabetes risk for those with pre-diabetes.”

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