Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of morbidity and mortality resulting from its microangiopathic and macroangiopathic complications. Current approaches to its management and to the prevention of diabetic complications are difficult to implement effectively, and there is little evidence to date that these approaches are reducing the impact of this disease. The recognition that type 2 diabetes usually has a prolonged prediabetic phase raises the possibility that the emergence of hyperglycemia and the atherosclerotic complications associated with diabetes may be preventable by the institution of early treatment modalities. Sufficient data suggest that life-style modification or pharmacotherapy directed at improving insulin sensitivity or insulin secretion in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance may reduce progression to diabetes. Two long-term prospective, controlled trials have been initiated to test this hypothesis.
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