According to a recent study from The Netherlands, almost 50% of 45-year-olds in the United States will develop prediabetes, a condition of higher blood sugar levels that typically precedes diabetes.
Also known as impaired glucose metabolism, prediabetes has no marked symptoms other than a raised blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with higher than average blood sugar at a risk of developing diabetes, and should be tested every one or two years.
And considering the fact that one in three healthy adults will develop diabetes within their lifetime, the need for preventative measures are great.
“We have known this from previous studies – but what this study adds is a method of communicating risk in a better way – a person’s lifetime risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Kamlesh Khunti of Leicester General Hospital in the UK, who also coauthored an editorial piece that accompanied the results.
The study was based on long-term data from around 10,000 adults in The Netherlands, that includes medical records, hospital discharge letters, blood sugar measurements, and pharmaceutical data.
Researchers followed these subjects for 15 years, and categorized their blood sugar levels on standards set forth by the World Health Organization. They found that a total of 1,148 developed higher blood sugar level over the course of the 15-year study, with 828 developing diabetes, and 237 starting insulin in order to control blood sugar levels.
The researcher translated these results, concluding that the sample population risk level heightened at age 45, and individuals who develop prediabetes at this age are susceptible to developing diabetes in their lifetime.
The results reflect an all-too-troubling reality for the United States. On an annual basis, the US spends approximately $245 million on health care for individuals with diabetes. If these statistics remain the same, by 2050, one in every three adults will have the diabetes.