Type 2 Diabetes, First Signs

The alarm bells of the metabolic disease are found in the blood already several years before the pre-diabetes stage: knowing this could help us to play in advance in prevention.

Interventions to stem the onset of diabetes should start well before age 45, the age generally considered as a “critical threshold” for diagnosis. The first signs of the metabolic disease affecting 425 million adults worldwide are found in the blood even 20 years before the actual diagnosis. This is the result of a Japanese research presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The study, conducted between 2005 and 2016, considered the body mass index (an indicator of the state of weight), fasting blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity of 27 thousand non-diabetic patients, mostly men between 30 and 50 years.

During the study, there were 1,067 new diagnoses of diabetes among the patients. In these people there was a higher body mass index, higher levels of fasting glucose and insulin resistance already 10 years before diagnosis. The same alarm bells, to a lesser extent, were found in those who in the research field received a diagnosis of pre-diabetes (4,781 people), an asymptomatic intermediate condition between normal and type 2 diabetes that can last a few years and is characterized by impaired fasting blood sugar.

Most people with diagnosed diabetes go through a phase of pre-diabetes and scientists believe that the first signs of the disease can be traced even 20 years before the diagnosis itself. Given that prevention in the pre-diabetes phase is not always characterized by long-term success, the discovery could serve to intervene on key factors of lifestyle (such as high sedentariness or intake of foods with a high glycemic index) before arriving at the antechamber of real diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of diabetes, is characterized by high blood sugar in a context of insulin resistance, the low sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of blood glucose ( keeping the blood sugar at bay). A high body mass index, typical of obese or overweight people, is among the risk factors of type 2 diabetes.