The natural history of type 2 diabetes. Implications for clinical practice

Prim Care. 1999 Dec;26(4):771-89. doi: 10.1016/s0095-4543(05)70130-5.


This article reviews the natural history of type 2 diabetes and emphasizes that the disease is a continuum from impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose to frank diabetes. Understanding this natural history aids the clinician in identifying those individuals most at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Early intervention may significantly limit the severity of the microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes. Additionally, this article discusses oral antidiabetic agents and reviews their potential effectiveness at the different stages in the continuum to aid the clinician in developing a treatment strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Disease Progression
  • Glucose Intolerance / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors


  • Hypoglycemic Agents