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Prediabetes Can Progress in Just One Year | by heidi


People who are diagnosed with prediabetes are often warned that their condition can progress to diabetes. But a new study has quantified just how likely that is to happen within a year.

About one in 20 adults aged 65 and up with prediabetes will end up developing diabetes within 12 months, according to an analysis of data from the Longitudinal Epidemiologic Assessment of Diabetes Risk (LEADR) study. Researchers analyzed data from more than 2 million adults between January 2010 and December 2018.1

Of those, 14.3% of the 50,152 adults diagnosed with prediabetes progressed to diabetes within 2.3 years. That led to an estimated annual progression rate of 5.3%.

However, certain factors influenced the likelihood of progression. Body mass index (BMI) and initial A1C level—a measure of average blood glucose levels for the last two to three months—were the biggest predictors. Patients with high BMIs and those with high A1C levels were the most likely to develop diabetes, with the risk increasing as those levels increased themselves.

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a health condition where a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but aren’t considered high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. About one in three American adults have prediabetes and more than 80% aren’t aware of it.2 People can have prediabetes but no clear symptoms.

People with a family history of diabetes and those with hypertension were also more likely to develop diabetes. The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

 Prediabetes Findings May Be False Hope

Experts aren’t shocked by the findings. 

“Insulin resistance is common among overweight or obese people,” Claudia Ramirez Bustamante, MD, fellow physician of medicine-endocrinology at Baylor College of Medicine, told Verywell. “This is not a surprising result.”

Having a family history of diabetes “is a strong predictor of diabetes,” Christoph Buettner, MD, PhD, chief of the division of endocrinology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told Verywell, adding that there is also a clear link between obesity and the development of diabetes. “Obesity is what drives the diabetes epidemic.”