Finally some good news. Less people are getting full blown type 2 diabetes thanks to better health care and early diagnosis.
According to a report led by epidemiologists at the University of Manchester, the number of people with pre-diabetes who continue to develop type 2 diabetes has decreased over the past two decades.
However, the improvements are likely to be due to improvements in the concept of pre-diabetes and monitoring procedures, says lead author Dr. Rathi Ravindrarajah, but also preventive work by the NHS.
The research also seems to show that the conversion risk is very low for those over 85 years of age, from pre-diabetes (recently formalized as non-diabetic hyperglycaemia or NDH) to type 2 diabetes.
Based on data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink of 148,363 participants with pre-diabetes / NDH from 2000 to 2015, the NIHR-funded study shows how rapidly these people develop type 2 diabetes and what its characteristics are.
Between 2000 and 2015, 1.6 percent of the sample converted to the disease after a month, 4.2 percent converted after six months and 20.4 percent converted after four years, according to the study reported in BMJ Accessible, before the launch of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
While pre-diabetes / NDH cases are increasing, less of these individuals have converted to type 2 diabetes, with the annual conversion rate dropping from 8 percent in 2000 to 4 percent in 2014.
About 5 million people have NDH and Diabetes UK reports that 3.9 million people had diabetes in the UK in January 2019. Even some are given the Metformin drug, which is the standard treatment for type 2 diabetes. And, intriguingly, our statistics indicate that the number of those pre-diabetes / NDH patients who continue to develop type 2 diabetes is dropping. We 're not sure why this is, but we think it's a mixture of successful NHS preventive work and changing non-diabetic hyperglycaemia concepts.
The decline in conversion rates reflect improvements in the concept of pre-diabetes and, to some degree, NDH, at least in the UK, with people diagnosed with NDH seeing lower conversion risks more recently. This has consequences for initiatives, such as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. "We hope this research will enable policy makers to be consistent with their pre-diabetes concept and tracking, which has changed many times over the last decade.
Diabetic prevention initiatives will need to target individuals at higher risk of conversion to Type 2 diabetes as described in this report. Policymakers aimed at preventing conversion will want to prioritize those recipients at higher risk of conversion, especially where resources may be restricted.
This article first appeared on https://medicalxpress.com