Should we be treating 'pre-diabetes'?

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Should we be treating 'pre-diabetes'?
16th July 2014

A professor at University College London says that millions of people in the UK are being wrongly labelled as being at risk of developing type two diabetes.

Professor John Yudkin says that too many medical studies are using the American term "pre-diabetic". It's being used to label those with a high concentration of glucose in the blood - but a level that is below the threshold for a diagnosis of actual diabetes.

Changes in testing methods has seen the number of people in the UK falling into the American Diabetes Association’s pre diabetic category grow to 16 million, despite only 3.2 million people in the UK currently having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“You’re treating a lot of people who might not develop diabetes with a drug that is used for people with diabetes,” says Yudkin. 

“There is no evidence that waiting and seeing if they do develop diabetes would any less advantageous.

“It adds to expense, risk of side effects and demands on health services.”

However, Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, described Professor Yudkin’s approach as “sticking your head in the sand”. 




“I think Professor Yudkin is wrong,” she told London Live’s Wake Up London.

“The reality is there’s a number of people, somewhere between seven and 16 million, who are at increased risk of developing diabetes.

“It’s a council of nihilism to ignore these people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

“10% of the NHS budget is currently spent on diabetes and by 2025, it could be 17% if the current rates of increase continue.” 


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