Delaying diabetes for four years through diet and exercise ‘reduces mortality’

Delaying diabetes for four years through diet and exercise can reduce the long-term risk of death for people with prediabetes, new research indicates.

The study suggests these changes should be considered as a way to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The research indicates that making changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting more exercise, can delay or reduce the chances of developing diabetes in people diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) – commonly called prediabetes.

But it has not been known how long a person must delay diabetes to ensure better health in the future.

The researchers found that people who were able to stay non-diabetic for at least four years after their initial diagnosis had a significantly lower risk of dying (26%) and a significantly lower risk of having a heart attack, stroke or heart failure.

This effect was not seen in people who remained non-diabetic for less than four years.

Overall, the findings suggest that the longer a prediabetic person can delay developing diabetes, the better their long-term health outcomes will be.

But researchers say even just a few years of maintaining prediabetic status can yield benefits for years to come.

Guangwei Li of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in China, and colleagues, said: “This study suggests that a longer duration of non-diabetes status in those with IGT has beneficial health outcomes and reduces mortality.

“The implementation of effective interventions targeting those with IGT should be considered as part of preventative management for diabetes and diabetes-related vascular complications.”

Prediabetes is when a person’s blood sugars are higher than usual, but not high enough for them to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

It also means they are at high risk of developing diabetes.

The study, published in the Plos Medicine journal, involved 540 prediabetic people who took part in the original Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study, a six-year trial conducted in Da Qing City in China, starting in 1986.

People were split into four groups – those who made no changes to their lifestyle, following a healthy diet, getting more exercise, or both.