Background: The normal fasting plasma glucose level was recently defined as less than 100 mg per deciliter (5.55 mmol per liter). Whether higher fasting plasma glucose levels within this range independently predict type 2 diabetes in young adults is unclear.
Methods: We obtained blood measurements, data from physical examinations, and medical and lifestyle information from men in the Israel Defense Forces who were 26 to 45 years of age.
Results: A total of 208 incident cases of type 2 diabetes occurred during 74,309 person-years of follow-up (from 1992 through 2004) among 13,163 subjects who had baseline fasting plasma glucose levels of less than 100 mg per deciliter. A multivariate model, adjusted for age, family history of diabetes, body-mass index, physical-activity level, smoking status, and serum triglyceride levels, revealed a progressively increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men with fasting plasma glucose levels of 87 mg per deciliter (4.83 mmol per liter) or more, as compared with those whose levels were in the bottom quintile (less than 81 mg per deciliter [4.5 mmol per liter], P for trend <0.001). In multivariate models, men with serum triglyceride levels of 150 mg per deciliter (1.69 mmol per liter) or more, combined with fasting plasma glucose levels of 91 to 99 mg per deciliter (5.05 to 5.50 mmol per liter), had a hazard ratio of 8.23 (95 percent confidence interval, 3.6 to 19.0) for diabetes, as compared with men with a combined triglyceride level of less than 150 mg per deciliter and fasting glucose levels of less than 86 mg per deciliter (4.77 mmol per liter). The joint effect of a body-mass index (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 30 or more and a fasting plasma glucose level of 91 to 99 mg per deciliter resulted in a hazard ratio of 8.29 (95 percent confidence interval, 3.8 to 17.8), as compared with a body-mass index of less than 25 and a fasting plasma glucose level of less than 86 mg per deciliter.
Conclusions: Higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the normoglycemic range constitute an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes among young men, and such levels may help, along with body-mass index and triglyceride levels, to identify apparently healthy men at increased risk for diabetes.
Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.