Prediabetic people have consistently high levels of blood sugar. However, they have not experienced any signs of type 2 diabetes yet.
Over time, their body cells become able to resist insulin, which is responsible for controlling levels of blood sugar.
When the pancreas cannot generate more insulin to prevent this resistance, type 2 diabetes occurs. Overall, prediabetes might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
A new study published in Nature Medicine has found out 6 broad types of prediabetes, which vary in their outlook and forms of interventions to prevent or delay diabetes.
Researchers come from the German Center for Diabetes Research and the University of Tuebingen.
In the study, the metabolism of 899 participants at risk of diabetes was tracked. The researchers implemented MRI scans, repetitive lab, and clinical tests over the course of 25 years.
They applied cluster analysis, a statistical method, to find out 6 different sets of individuals with prediabetes. These groups were divided based on 8 main metabolic characteristics. These include levels of blood lipid, genetic risk of diabetes, fat distribution, amount of fat in the liver, and levels of blood glucose.
Lastly, the scientists extended the analysis to nearly 7,000 people to verify these types of prediabetes.
To sum up, they identified that individuals in these groups have the following risk profiles and metabolic features:
– People in type 1, 2, and 4 have lower mortality and lower risk of developing diabetes than other groups
– Most individuals with type 2 are slim and have an extremely low risk of having complications caused by diabetes
– People in type 3 have a genetic risk of developing diabetes and generate too little insulin. They are at moderate risk of mortality and higher risk of developing kidney disease, cardiovascular complications, and diabetes.
– People in type 4 are overweight but have a quite healthy metabolism
– People in type 5 have high-fat levels in the liver and high risks of nephropathy, cardiovascular issues, and diabetes. The rate of mortality is higher than those of type 3
– People in type 6 have high-fat levels in the abdominal cavities and kidneys. The risk of diabetes is quite low compared to type 5 and 3. However, the risk of mortality and nephropathy are higher.
The scientists caution that the results can be applied only to groups rather than indicating individual outlook and risk.