Reversing Prediabetes

Nobody likes to be told that they have prediabetes. But such a diagnosis doesn’t mean nothing can be done. A new study from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom has found that adults who lose weight or reduce their waistlines within a year of receiving a diagnosis of prediabetes are significantly more likely to return to normal glucose tolerance than adults who don’t.

The researchers analyzed data from 817 people with a mean age of 60 (53% were women). Within the group, 68% had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 18% had impaired fasting glucose (IFG), and 14% had both. (IGT and IFG are signs of prediabetes.) The subjects were screened for diabetes every year for five years (unless they developed diabetes before then). After one year, more than half (54%) of the patients had returned to normal glucose tolerance. About 40% still had impaired glucose tolerance and about 6% had developed Type 2 diabetes.

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The most interesting finding was that participants who had lost 3% of their body weight or lost more than 3 centimeters (slightly less than 1 1/4 inches) around their waistlines within the first year were twice as likely to return to normal glucose tolerance than those who didn’t. The participants who regained normal glucose tolerance at the one-year mark were also more likely to remain free of diabetes than those who still had impaired glucose tolerance after a year.

The lead researcher on the study, Danielle Bodicoat, PhD, summed up her team’s findings by saying, “This study emphasizes the importance of encouraging people with raised glucose levels to make health lifestyle choices…. Losing weight or reducing your waist circumference may be the most important part of this.”

Want to learn more about prediabetes? Read “Prediabetes: What to Know” and “Stopping Prediabetes In Its Tracks.”