1 in 3 healthy adults will develop diabetes

1 in 3 healthy adults will develop diabetes

While the rate of diabetes in the U.S. is leveling off according to recent research, it is still very much prevalent. Almost half of 45 year olds will develop pre-diabetes in their lifetime.

According to a new study from The Netherlands, 1 in 3 healthy adults will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

We have known this from previous studies – but what this study adds is a method of communicating risk in a better way – a person’s lifetime risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Kamlesh Khunti of Leicester General Hospital in the U.K., coauthor of the study.

As written in the study abstract:

In this prospective population-based cohort analysis, we used data from the population-based Rotterdam Study. We identified diagnostic events by use of general practitioners’ records, hospital discharge letters, pharmacy dispensing data, and serum fasting glucose measurements taken at the study centre (Rotterdam, Netherlands) visits. Normoglycaemia, prediabetes, and diabetes were defined on the basis of WHO criteria for fasting glucose (normoglycaemia: ≤6·0 mmol/L; prediabetes: >6·0 mmol/L and <7·0 mmol/L; and diabetes ≥7·0 mmol/L or use of glucose-lowering drug). We calculated lifetime risk using a modified version of survival analysis adjusted for the competing risk of death. We also estimated the lifetime risk of progression from prediabetes to overt diabetes and from diabetes free of insulin treatment to insulin use. Additionally, we calculated years lived with healthy glucose metabolism.”

Over a period of 15 years, 1,148 people experienced elevated blood sugar levels, 828 people developed diabetes, and 237 started taking insulin to control diabetes symptoms.

About 3/4 of those with elevated blood sugar at age 45 would go on to develop diabetes in their lifetime.

The authors conclude: “Impaired glucose metabolism is a substantial burden on population health, and our findings emphasise the need for more effective prevention strategies, which should be implemented as soon in a person’s life as possible. The substantial lifetime risk of prediabetes and diabetes in lean individuals also supports risk factor control in non-obese individuals.”

The study showing that 1 in 3 healthy adults will develop diabetes was published in The Lancet.

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1. “1 In 3 Healthy Adults Will Develop Diabetes Over Their Lifetime.” The Huffington Post. HuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
2. “Lifetime Risk of Developing Impaired Glucose Metabolism and Eventual Progression from Prediabetes to Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Cohort Study.” The Lancet. The Lancet, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
3. “Type 2 Diabetes: Lifetime Risk of Advancing from Prediabetes.” The Lancet. The Lancet, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
4. “Prevalence and Incidence Trends for Diabetes Among Adults.” JAMA Network. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

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