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Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Diagnosed Years Before the Outbreak?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects more and more people today. Researchers found that the warning signs for type 2 diabetes could be detectable up to 20 years before the actual disease was diagnosed.
The scientists from Aizawa Hospital in Matsumoto, Japan, found that the first warning signs of type 2 diabetes can be detected up to 20 years before the diagnosis of the disease. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Endocrine Society".
Interventions should start much earlier
Elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance were found in people years before people developed prediabetes, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes, the experts say. The results suggest that interventions to stop diabetes from developing should start much earlier in life, the authors add.
27,000 people took part in the study
The Japanese study, which was carried out between 2005 and 2016, examined the Body Mass Index (BMI), the so-called fasting blood sugar level and the insulin sensitivity of 27,000 non-diabetics who were between 30 and 50 years old. The majority of these participants were men.
How is insulin resistance triggered?
Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells do not respond properly to the hormone insulin, which can lead to a variety of health problems. A higher BMI is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The study monitored subjects until they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (in which the blood sugar level is abnormally high) or until the end of the study in 2016, the researchers explain. During this study period, 1,067 new cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.
There was evidence of type 2 diabetes years earlier
The doctors found that up to ten years before the diagnosis, sick people had increased blood sugar levels, increased insulin resistance and a higher BMI. A similar pattern was observed among participants who started developing prediabetes, also more than a decade before diagnosis, the study authors explain. Since most people who develop type 2 diabetes first go through a pre-diabetes phase, the researchers speculate that the warning signs of the disease could be detectable even more than 20 years before an actual diagnosis.
Medicines and lifestyle can prevent diabetes
Since preventive examinations in people with prediabetes are less successful in the long-term course, intervention may have to be taken much earlier to prevent the further development of diabetes, explains the study author Dr. Hiroyuki Sagesaka from Aizawa Hospital in Matsumoto. A much earlier path of intervention, either medication or lifestyle, is warranted, the expert adds. Prediabetes does not have to develop into type 2 diabetes. People can usually make lifestyle changes to prevent this. It is of course helpful to know the existing risk at all times in order to avoid or prevent a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Only a correct diagnosis leads to optimal treatment
Whether people are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes or not, everyone should be encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier and exercising more. If people develop type 1 diabetes later in life, they run the risk of being misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin immediately, patients with type 2 diabetes can be treated by improving their diet and exercising more. The right diagnosis is important so that these patients receive the right advice and treatment, the experts explain. (as)