German researchers have observed six types of prediabetes, which could help to identify intervention strategies to reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes among high-risk individuals in the future.
Researchers tracked changes in metabolism in 899 participants taking part in the Tubingen Family study and Tubingen Lifestyle program. Regular clinical and lab tests and MRI scans were conducted over a 25-year period.
Using a statistical method called cluster analysis, they were able to identify six groups of people with prediabetes based on eight key metabolic features such as blood glucose levels, overall fat distribution, blood lipid levels, the amount of fat in the liver and the genetic risk of diabetes.
Researchers then confirmed the six sub-types of prediabetes extended to a different study sample by looking at data of close to 7000 civil servants in the UK who took part the Whitehall II study.
Generally, the clusters appear to predict not only progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes but also the likelihood of development of complications, type of complications and mortality.
At present, the clusters apply only to groups of people and their applicability in determining individual risk requires further investigation.
The study group states the next step is to “determine to what extent the new findings are applicable for the classification of individual persons into risk groups.”
It is hoped that these classifications may enable the provision of more targeted prevention and treatment strategies.
Source: Medical News Today/Nature Medicine
Wagner, Heni, Tabak et al 2020