Labeling people as 'pre-diabetic' may be unhelpful and dangerous, study says

Using the term "pre-diabetic" to classify people with high blood sugar isn't only unhelpful, but it might also pose unnecessary financial and social costs, report researchers from University College London and the Mayo Clinic.

The new study aimed to determine whether or not a pre-diabetes diagnosis could offer any health benefits or better rates of prevention, yet results showed treating pre-diabetes only delayed the onset of Type 2 diabetes by a few years.

Furthermore, no long-term benefits of classifying people as pre-diabetic were seen.

"Pre-diabetes is an artificial category with virtually zero clinical relevance," said lead author John S Yudkin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at UCL. "There is no proven benefit of giving diabetes treatment drugs to people in this category before they develop diabetes, particularly since many of them would not go on to develop diabetes anyway."

ADA guidelines may need to be revised

According to the American Diabetes Association's guidelines, anyone with A1c levels between 5.7 and 6.4 percent has pre-diabetes.

But if these guidelines were adopted on a global scale, researchers said, about half of adults in China would be considered pre-diabetic, as would one-third of adults in the UK.

"The latest study questions the logic of putting a label on such huge sections of the population, as it could create significant burdens on healthcare systems without conferring any health benefits," a press release on the study stated.

The authors further explained that ethnic differences that contribute to fluctuations in A1c levels might invalidate the pre-diabetes term even more.

Diet and exercise are more effective than drugs

Yudkin explained that pharmaceutical solutions aren't always the answer and the focus should be put more on public health.

"The whole population would benefit from a more healthy diet and more physical activity, so it makes no sense to single out so many people and tell them that they have a disease," he said.

Co-author Victor Montori concluded that healthy diet and exercise are still the best ways to prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes.

"Unlike drugs, they are associated with incredibly positive effects in other aspects of life," he said.

The study is published in the journal BMJ.

Source: University College London

Image credit: winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...