Warding off Diabetes

Closeup of hand with blood monitor

Amanda Mills/CDC

Researchers say normal glucose levels should be the goal for patients with early Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Professor of Medicine Lawrence Phillips and Assistant Professor Darin Olson found that although Type 2 diabetes is a major public health problem, few clinicians screen routinely to detect it early or manage hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) aggressively.

Patients with pre-diabetes who are able to reduce their blood glucose to normal levels may be able to ward off developing diabetes, which is chronic and affects the body’s ability to turn food into energy.

“How the normal glucose levels were achieved did not seem to matter,” says Phillips, who works at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and in the division of endocrinology at Emory. “The benefit was comparable if patients used diet and exercise or took a diabetes drug.”

The researchers suggest that doctors treat high-risk patients aggressively, beginning with lifestyle intervention and adding drug therapy as needed.

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