Researchers suggest that type-2 diabetes can be detected two decades before it is diagnosed. It was found that symptoms like insulin resistance and elevated fasting blood sugar levels were seen long before development of pre-diabetes. Interventions to prevent the disease should start a lot earlier in life. A separate study found that misdiagnosis of type-1 diabetes happens before 30 years of age.
The Japanese study that was done from 2005 to 2016 tested fasting blood sugar levels, body mass indexes, insulin sensitivity in 27,000 mostly male non-diabetics, between 30 and 50 years of age. Insulin resistance is seen when body cells react wrongly to insulin leading to various health problems, higher the BMI, greater the risk of type-2 diabetes. The study was conducted until the test subjects got diabetes or until 2016 ended—whichever happened first. About 1,067 new cases of type-2 diabetes were diagnosed. A decade before diagnosis, insulin resistance and heightened fasting blood sugar levels were seen in participants. The same pattern was observed in people who developed pre-diabetes though to a lesser degree.
As most people who later develop diabetes go through a pre-diabetic phase, symptoms may be detected 20 years earlier, say researchers. Leader of the study, Dr. Sagesaka, said that intervening a lot earlier is the only way to prevent pre-diabetic patients from developing full-blown diabetes. Almost a million people in the UK are suspected of having type-2 diabetes without even knowing. Charity Diabetes UK also said that people should live healthier lives, whether they have diabetes or not.
Type-1 diabetes requires immediate doses of insulin whereas type-2 diabetes can be treated by following healthier lifestyles. Dr. Thomas of Exeter University said that correct diagnosis is necessary so that correct treatment plans can be implemented.
The Journal of Endocrine Society will publish the study and it will also be presented at European Association of Study of Diabetes.