Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

A ‘perspective’ article reviews data from several studies that show the efficacy of medical treatments aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes (NEJM 2012; 367: 1177-79).

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a comparative effectiveness trial of 3234 overweight or obese adults with impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes).  Findings from this study (published in 2002) showed that lifestyle intervention (attempts at weight loss through diet and exercise) reduced conversion to diabetes by 58% over 3 years, whereas metformin reduced this conversion by 31% over 2 years.  Lifestyle intervention worked best in patients ≥ 60 years.

Subsequently, 88% of these subjects were enrolled in the 10-year outcome study (DPPOS).  The lifestyle intervention group had a 31% 10-year reduction in diabetes compared with 18% for metformin.

The editorial points out that there have been efforts to expand these results across the country through CDC-sponsored programs in cooperation with the YMCA and UnitedHealth.

Potential roadblocks remain:

  • Most payers do not cover these preventive services.
  • US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has not issued a recommendation on these services.  this affects both public and private insurance coverage.
  • Metformin which may be useful in younger populations does not have a specific indication for diabetes prevention from the FDA (off-label use only).

Whether prevention is ‘worth a pound of cure’ may be hard to discern with prediabetes.    Since the peak incidence of diabetes is between 50 and 60 years and complications often emerge more than a decade later, the benefits of preventing diabetes may not be fully apparent for quite a long time.

Related blog entries:

Treating diabetes with surgery | gutsandgrowth

Lower leptin with physical activity | gutsandgrowth

Staggering cost of obesity | gutsandgrowth

NAFLD Guidelines 2012

Given the pervasiveness of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), updated practice guidelines are worth a look (Hepatology 2012; 55: 2005-23, also in Gastroenterology 2012; 142: 1592-1609)).  While the review includes updated information on incidence, prevalence, risk groups, natural history, the focus remains on specific graded recommendations.

These AGA/AASLD/ACG guidelines do not recommend screening adults due to uncertainties surrounding diagnostic tests and treatment.  This includes high risk populations such as diabetics and bariatric patients.  In addition, unlike recent obesity guidelines from the AAP (Pediatrics 2007; 120: S164-192), these guidelines do not recommend screening children for NAFLD.

Specific management recommendations:

  • Exclude competing etiologies in patients with suspected NAFLD: iron studies, autoantibodies, Wilson’s, viral hepatitis, celiac serology, muscle disease
  • Consider liver biopsy in higher risk patients: metabolic syndrome patients, patients with higher NAFLD Fibrosis score, or before treatment
  • Serum/plasma CK18 is promising biomarker.  Not recommended for routine practice at this time.

Treatment Recommendations:

  • Weight loss (3-5%) helps steatosis and greater losses (up to 10%) may be needed to improve necroinflammation.
  • Metformin –not recommended for liver disease in NASH/NAFLD.
  • Pioglitazone can be used to treat steatohepatitis; however, “long-term safety and efficacy of pioglitazone in patients with NASH is not established.”
  • Vitamin E at 800 units/day improves liver histology in biopsy-proven NASH.  Not recommended without biopsy-confirmed NASH, in diabetic patients, or patients with cirrhosis.  Concern with Vitamin E in adults has been an association with increased all-cause mortality in some studies (but not in others).
  • Avoid alcohol in patients with NAFLD

Website to download PDF version:

Another opinion on which patients to biopsy:

Related posts:

A liver disease tsunami

TODAY is worrisome for a lot of tomorrows

The TODAY study (NEJM 2012; 366: 2247-56 and editorial 2315-16) =Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth.

While the study has a catchy acronym, the findings are disturbing.  Eligible patients (n=699) were 10 to 17 years old were followed on average over 3.86 years; they were divided into three groups:

  • Metformin 1000mg BID –48% achieved primary outcome (glycated hemoglobin <8% for at least 6 months).
  • Metformin with lifestyle changes –53% achieved primary outcome.  The lifestyle counseling that patients received in the study likely exceeded the typical counseling that most patients receive in clinical practice.
  • Metformin with rosiglitazone (4mg BID) –61% achieved primary outcome.  While this group had the best glycemic response, this group also had the greatest increase in BMI.

Other findings:

Comorbid conditions were common:

  • Hypertension: at baseline in 81 (11.6%) and new cases during study 155 (22.2%)
  • Dyslipidemia (LDL): at baseline in 23 (3.3%) and new cases during study 49 (7%)
  • Triglyceridemia: at baseline in 127 (18.2%) and new cases during study 70 (10%)
  • Microalbuminurina: at baseline in 44 (6.3%) and new cases during study 72 (10.3%)

Frequent adverse events noted with medications (Table 2 in study): gastrointestinal symptoms noted in about half of all study participants in each group, rash noted in about 40%, and elevated LFTs in about 40%.

Take home messages (borrowed from editorial):

“Most youth with type 2 diabetes will require multiple oral agents or insulin therapy within a few years after diagnosis”

“Fifty years ago, children did not avoid obesity by making healthy choices; they simply lived in an environment that provided fewer calories and included more physical activity.”

“Public-policy approaches–sufficient economic incentives to produce and purchase healthy foods and to build safe environments that require physical movement…will be necessary to stem the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and its associated morbidity.”

Related posts:

Treating diabetes with surgery

Cardiovascular disease for the entire family

Staggering cost of obesity

Lower leptin with physical activity