Control Sugar Now, Stop Diabetes Later

Prediabetes patients reduce future diabetes risk if they achieve normal blood sugar at least once

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and millions more have pre-diabetes. Research says diet and exercise can prevent diabetes. But many pre-diabetes patients find it hard to commit to changes.

Researchers found that patients who reached normal blood sugar levels had a 56 percent lower risk of diabetes, compared to those who remained pre-diabetic.

"Eat healthy and stay active to prevent diabetes."

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are much more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes.

In a recent study, Leigh Perreault, MD, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and colleagues set out to measure and predict the risk of diabetes in patients who brought their blood sugar to normal levels compared to those who consistently had pre-diabetes.

In most cases, lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise can keep pre-diabetes from progressing into full blown type 2 diabetes. However, some lifestyle interventions have been shown to be too intense, and consequently fail to prevent diabetes.

Dr. Perreault and colleagues found that intensive lifestyle intervention led to a higher risk of diabetes and lower chance of normal blood sugar control among pre-diabetes patients who never reached normal blood sugar.

"We conclude that pre-diabetes is a high-risk state for diabetes, especially in patients who remain with pre-diabetes despite intensive lifestyle intervention," the authors write.

They conclude that reaching normal blood sugar levels, even if temporary, is linked to a lower risk of diabetes in the future.

For their study, the researchers examined 1,990 patients involved in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS).

The study appears online in The Lancet.

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Review Date: 
June 11, 2012
Last Updated:
October 24, 2012