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Treatment Guidelines Issued for Pre-Diabetic Patients

Experts recommend intensive lifestyle therapies followed if necessary by medications

THURSDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with pre-diabetes may need aggressive lifestyle management, medication, or both to reduce their risk of developing overt diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a Consensus Statement released July 23 in Washington, D.C., by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

Because there are no approved medications for preventing the conversion of pre-diabetes to overt diabetes, the association recommended a two-pronged approach, starting with diet and exercise guidelines issued by the U.S. government's Diabetes Prevention Program. In cases where such lifestyle changes do not sufficiently reduce cardiovascular risk factors, the association advised the use of medications to control abnormal blood pressure and cholesterol independent of glucose control medications.

Pre-diabetes is defined as near-diabetic levels of blood glucose, hypertension, or abnormal lipid profiles. According to a recent report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 56 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but most of them are unaware that they have the condition.

"The data show that there is a spectrum of severity, with the most severely affected approaching the risks of people with diagnosed type 2 diabetes," Daniel Einhorn, M.D., of the Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes in La Jolla, Calif., said in a statement. "In these highest risk individuals, who represent a minority, pharmacologic strategies may be appropriate if intensive lifestyle therapies fail. Regardless, all individuals at risk for diabetes should be aware of the level of their risk factors and be prepared to take action."

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