How Healthy Can You Be and Still Get Type 2?

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By: Daniel Trecroci

“Higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the [normal blood glucose] range constitute an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes among young men, and such levels may help, along with body mass index and triglyceride levels, to identify apparently healthy men at increased risk for diabetes.”

This was the opinion of Israeli researchers who set out to learn which “normal” blood glucose levels are better at predicting whether an individual will be diagnosed with type 2.

The normal fasting plasma glucose level was recently defined as less than 100 mg/dl.

“Whether higher fasting plasma glucose levels within this range independently predict type 2 diabetes in young adults is unclear,” write the researchers, who obtained blood measurements, data from physical examinations and medical and lifestyle information from men 26 to 45 years of age who were serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

A total of 208 cases of type 2 diabetes occurred between 1992 and 2004 in 13,000 participants who had baseline fasting plasma glucose levels of less than 100 mg/dl.

Despite having BG levels of 87 mg/dl, those who were obese, had a family history of diabetes or had elevated triglycerides were at greater risk to develop type 2.

“Men with … triglyceride levels of 150 mg per deciliter or more combined with fasting plasma glucose levels of 91 to 99 mg/dl had a hazard ratio of 8.23 for diabetes, as compared with men with a combined triglyceride level of less than 150 mg per deciliter and fasting glucose levels of less than 86 mg/dl,” write the researchers.

They add that having a body mass index of 30 or more and a fasting plasma glucose level of 91 to 99 mg/dl resulted in a hazard ratio of 8.29 as compared with a body mass index of less than 25 and a fasting plasma glucose level of less than 86 mg/dl.

New England Journal of Medicine, October 6, 2005

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