Pre-diabetic people who lose 10 percent of their body weight within 6 months of diagnosis, have a dramatically lower risk of getting affected by type 2 diabetes, a study claims.
The findings by Johns Hopkins scientists offer patients and physicians a guide to how short-term behavior change may affect long-term health.
"We have known for some time that the greater the weight loss, the lower your risk of diabetes," study leader Nisa Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said.
"Now we understand that we can see much of the benefit of losing that weight in those first six months when people are adjusting to a new way to eating and exercising. Substantial weight loss in the short term clearly should go a long way toward preventing diabetes," the researcher said.
Preventing pre-diabetes from becoming full-blown diabetes is critical, Maruthur said.
Uncontrolled diabetes - marked by excess sugar in the blood - can lead to eye, kidney and nerve damage, as well as cardiovascular disease.
The new research suggests that if people with pre-diabetes don't lose enough weight in those first months, physicians may want to consider more aggressive treatment, such as adding a medication to push blood sugar levels lower.
The research is published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.