Prediabetes: Most Cases Go Undiagnosed and Untreated

Less than one-quarter of patients with prediabetes receive the treatment or advice they should be getting from their doctors, according to research from the University of Florida.

The study found that most physicians miss the chance to intervene and prevent prediabetes from becoming full-blown diabetes.

"We know that prediabetes is considered one of the biggest risk factors for the development of diabetes, with estimates ranging from 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes developing diabetes within five years," said lead study author Dr. Arch G. Mainous III.

Most people don't know they have it

About 90 percent of people with prediabetes don't know they have the condition, Mainous said, and the study aimed to determine where doctors fit into this problem.

Findings showed that even when physicians have patients' recent blood test results, only 23 percent of patients get treated for pre diabetes or recommended the appropriate lifestyle interventions.

Mainous is currently conducting a survey to determine why doctors may not diagnose or treat prediabetes cases as often as they should, citing lack of knowledge or a reluctance to "overmedicalize" as possible factors.

"One of the keys to diabetes prevention is detection and management of people with prediabetes," Mainous said. "Identifying people with prediabetes and getting them some sort of treatment has been shown to be effective for slowing the progression to diabetes or stopping it altogether, and that is the goal of prevention. We don't want to manage half the population with diabetes. What we want to do is keep them from getting diabetes."

Source: University of Florida

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