The InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) recently highlighted the urgent need to investigate the term ‘pre-diabetes.’ The term, now part of everyday discussion regarding diabetes, and even in use by medical professionals, is a great source of concern for those patients labelled by it. People with ‘pre-diabetes’ are being diagnosed by health professionals, but not given sufficient information to understand their condition. The charity have spotted an alarming trend in relation to the term.
Martin Hirst, the CEO of IDDT, blasted the words ‘pre-diabetes’ as ‘inappropriate and meaningless.’ He claimed that patients were being misled and worried. Hirst went on record to state: ‘we are receiving large numbers of calls to our Helpline from people who have been ‘diagnosed’ as such, asking for advice as to what they should do next. It appears that the tests being used to determine this term could apply to a third of all adults in England – approximately 18 million people who could fit into this category!’
Another medical expert said that pre-diabetes as a diagnosis added nothing for either doctor or patient. Dr. Laurence Gerlis (a trustee and medical advisor at IDDT), reportedly said: ‘Anyone who overeats and gains weight can develop diabetes. In that sense we are all pre–diabetic! There is still the borderline state of ‘impaired glucose tolerance’ and, of course, we should continue to advise patients on diet and weight loss where appropriate, but nothing is to be gained by inventing a separate entity and treating ‘pre-diabetes.’
IDDT further suggested that treating of people with ‘pre-diabetes’ with diabetes drugs has little beneficial impact. The news supports a previous claim by NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) that pre-diabetes should not be a distinct category. Furthermore, the term is not recognised by the World Health Organisation. In the strongest sense, the IDDT believes that the definition needs to be debated.