Key to delaying diabetes onset revealed

Onset of type-2 diabetes could be substantially delayed by identifying trends in blood glucose and insulin sensitivity before the condition develops, results of a study suggest.

Insulin injection (Photograph: J H Lancy/HML)
Insulin injection (Photograph: J H Lancy/HML)

The WHITEHALL II study followed over 6,000 UK civil servants for almost 10 years. Blood glucose levels were measured before and after meals and insulin sensitivity was monitored.

Over the course of the study, 505 cases of diabetes were diagnosed.

In those without diabetes, the metabolic changes showed a linear trend, except for insulin secretion which did not change.

In patients who went on to develop diabetes, a steep increase in fasting and post meal blood glucose was apparent three years before the diagnosis of diabetes.

Insulin sensitivity decreased in the five years before diagnosis.

The authors said their findings may provide new opportunities for screening and prevention. They suggest that diabetes prevention would be more successful if started before the change in glucose trajectory.

The findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in New Orleans.

See this week’s GP dated 12 June for a page of news from the conference.

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