According to Dutch epidemiologists, elevations in blood glucose levels (BGLs) and HbA1c may be evident up to a decade before patients are actually diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers analysed data from a Dutch population-based cohort of people aged 50–75 years in 1989. The 565 participants did not have diabetes at baseline. Follow-up encounters had occurred in 1996 and 2000.
Results showed that, while initial increases in BGLs and HbA1c were moderate, they rose rapidly in the few years leading up to diagnosis. Moreover, HbA1c levels appeared to increase first, with rises in BGLs following.
The findings were reported at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes 47th Annual Meeting in Portugal on 13 September 2011.