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Study Describes Pattern of Glucose Rise in Diabetes

Gradual then steep increase in glucose levels seen in progression to type 2 diabetes

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients appear to have two distinct phases of plasma glucose levels on their path towards developing type 2 diabetes -- an initial gradual rise in their glucose values followed by a steep increase, researchers report in the August issue of Diabetes. The researchers were able to construct a combined linear and exponential mathematical model to characterize this pattern.

Clinton C. Mason, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Phoenix, Ariz., and colleagues analyzed longitudinal data from 55 Pima Indians who eventually developed diabetes. They characterized the rate of change of two-hour plasma glucose levels over time.

Individuals who developed diabetes experienced increases in plasma glucose that fit two sequential patterns: an initial gradual (linear) increase followed by a very rapid (exponential) rise in glucose values. The researchers designed a combined linear and exponential model that provided a better fit than linear or exponential models alone in 40 out of 55 subjects.

"Understanding the physiology of the onset of diabetes will depend on understanding the cause(s) of the transition from the linear to the exponential phase. Interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes might be most effective at or around the time of this transition," the authors conclude.

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