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New Diabetes Threat Identified

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From New"]http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/202b5a.htm


Diabetes Threat Identified[/b]

SLOUGH, ENGLAND -- August 6, 2001 -- An Expert Committee of the International Diabetes Federation, comprising representatives from 12 countries, met this weekend to consider the importance of a common -- but seldom diagnosed -- condition that carries a very high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), which reveals itself as an excessive rise in blood glucose following consumption of 75g glucose, affects about one in seven of adults over 40 years in the industrialised world. Professor Paul Zimmet AO, Co-Chairman of the expert group, and from the International Diabetes Institute, a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Melbourne, Australia, said that there are over 200 million people worldwide with IGT. About 50 percent of adults with IGT will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.


Professor Sir George Alberti, President of the International Diabetes Federation and Royal College of Physicians, and Co-Chairman of the expert group warned, "Type 2 diabetes already affects 150 million people worldwide and most people with these damagingly high "glucose spikes" will go on to develop diabetes. Diabetes is already placing a heavy burden on healthcare resources and the number of people at risk has huge implications for healthcare budgets".

In addition to a high risk of type 2 diabetes, IGT significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Recent research shows that people with IGT are 34 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases over the next nine years than people with normal blood glucose levels. Furthermore, many people who go on to develop type 2 diabetes already have cardiovascular complications by the time they are diagnosed.

"We now have clear evidence that weight control and adequate physical activity substantially reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A study recently completed in Finland showed that intensive lifestyle advice reduced progression from IGT to type 2 diabetes by 58 percent," says Professor Paul Zimmet. "However, it is equally clear that many people do not respond to lifestyle advice. The serious health risks associated with IGT mean that pharmacological interventions are likely to be necessary".

Studies are underway to determine how effective pharmacological interventions are at reducing progression from IGT to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Diabetes Prevention Program, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, looking at the effect of lifestyle or pharmacological intervention on the development of diabetes in people with IGT, is due to present its preliminary findings in a few weeks. The results of the Bayer AG STOP-NIDDM study will also be available in a few weeks.

Later this year, Novartis Pharma AG will launch the very large and important NAVIGATOR prevention trial involving 7,500 people with IGT in 30 countries worldwide. This study will also address the issue of whether pharmacological intervention can prevent type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Another study asking a similar question will be the DREAM study funded by Aventis and GSK.

"Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases will be the biggest health problems faced by governments for many years to come," says Professor Zimmet. "It is essential that we take action now to prevent these diseases from escalating further".


SOURCE International Diabetes Federation


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