Rates of prediabetes have risen sharply in England, and without intervention, the nation may experience a steep increase in diabetes in the coming years, according to University of Florida researchers working with the University of Leicester in England. Prediabetes rates among English adults rose from about 12 percent in 2003 to 35 percent in 2011, according to the findings of a study published in BMJ Open.
“The rapid rise was exceptionally surprising and suggests that if something does not happen, there is going to be a huge increase in the prevalence of diabetes,” said Dr. Arch G. Mainous III, the study’s lead author and chair of the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Prediabetes is defined as having blood glucose concentrations higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. People with prediabetes have a greater risk than people with normal blood glucose levels of vascular problems, kidney disease, and nerve and retinal damage. Each year, between 5 and 10 percent of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes.
“We know that prediabetes is a major risk factor for developing diabetes,” said Dr. Mainous, the Florida Blue endowed chair of health administration. “We also know that interventions in the form of medications or lifestyle changes are successful in preventing diabetes. It is a lot better to stop diabetes before it develops.”
For the UF study, researchers analyzed data collected in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2011 by the Health Survey for England. Sponsored by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care and the Department of Health, this population-based survey combines questionnaires with physical measurements and blood tests. The researchers classified survey participants as having prediabetes if they had a blood glucose level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, which the American Diabetes Association considers prediabetes, and if they indicated they had not previously been diagnosed with diabetes.
Read more on the UF website.
[Photo: Dr. Mainous]