New research identifies six subtypes of prediabetes

A team of German researchers has identified six subtypes of prediabetes, publishing their work in the journal Nature Medicine.


With a prevalence rate considered to be extraordinarily high: nearly 90 million cases of prediabetes in America in 2020 — it is critical for future research to find ways of treating and preventing diabetes.

The new findings from the German research team is a breakthrough that highlights six distinct subtypes of diabetes risk, which may improve therapy and preventative approaches for patients with the disease.

By examining close to 900 participants, including the assessment of their blood glucose levels, blood lipid levels, body fat distribution, genetic risk, and liver fat, researchers organized the six subtypes into what they labeled as clusters 1 through 6.

Among the participants, those in clusters 1, 2, and 4 were healthy with no indication of a metabolic disorder. The participants in clusters 3, 5, and 6 were at a higher risk of diabetes.

“Three of the identified subphenotypes have increased glycemia (clusters 3, 5 and 6), but only individuals in clusters 5 and 3 have immanent diabetes risks. By contrast, those in cluster 6 have moderate risk of type 2 diabetes, but an increased risk of kidney disease and all-cause mortality,” the findings showed.

“This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that pathophysiological heterogeneity exists before diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and highlights a group of individuals who have an increased risk of complications without rapid progression to overt type 2 diabetes.”

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed, as of the date of this publication.

Image courtesy of Getty Images/iStockphoto
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