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BACKGROUND: Risk factors often develop at young age and are maintained over time, but it is not fully understood how risk factors develop over time preceding type 2 diabetes. We examined how levels and trajectories of metabolic risk factors and biochemical markers prior to diagnosis differ between persons with and without type 2 diabetes over 15-20 years. METHODS: A total of 355 incident type 2 diabetes cases (285 self-reported, 70 with random glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol l-1) and 2130 controls were identified in a prospective cohort between 1987-2012. Risk factors were measured at 5-year intervals. Trajectories preceding case ascertainment were analysed using generalised estimating equations. RESULTS: Among participants with a 21-year follow-up period, those with type 2 diabetes had higher levels of metabolic risk factors and biochemical markers 15-20 years before case ascertainment. Subsequent trajectories were more unfavourable in participants with type 2 diabetes for body mass index (BMI), HDL cholesterol and glucose (P < 0.01), and to a lesser extent for waist circumference, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, alanine aminotransferase, gamma glutamyltransferase, C-reactive protein, uric acid and estimated glomerular filtration rate compared with participants without type 2 diabetes. Among persons with type 2 diabetes, BMI increased by 5-8% over 15 years, whereas the increase among persons without type 2 diabetes was 0-2% (P < 0.01). The observed differences in trajectories of metabolic risk factors and biochemical markers were largely attenuated after inclusion of BMI in the models. Results were similar for men and women. CONCLUSIONS: Participants with diabetes had more unfavourable levels of metabolic risk factors and biochemical markers already 15-20 years before diagnosis and worse subsequent trajectories than others. Our results highlight the need, in particular, for maintenance of a healthy weight from young adulthood onwards for diabetes prevention.
Hulsegge, G., Spijkerman, A. M. W., Van Der Schouw, Y. T., Bakker, S. J. L., Gansevoort, R. T., Smit, H. A., & Verschuren, W. M. M. (2017). Trajectories of metabolic risk factors and biochemical markers prior to the onset of type 2 diabetes: The population-based longitudinal Doetinchem study. Nutrition and Diabetes, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.1038/nutd.2017.23
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