An investigation of causal relationships between prediabetes and vascular complications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prediabetes is a state of glycaemic dysregulation below the diagnostic threshold of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Globally, ~352 million people have prediabetes, of which 35–50% develop full-blown diabetes within five years. T2D and its complications are costly to treat, causing considerable morbidity and early mortality. Whether prediabetes is causally related to diabetes complications is unclear. Here we report a causal inference analysis investigating the effects of prediabetes in coronary artery disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease, complemented by a systematic review of relevant observational studies. Although the observational studies suggest that prediabetes is broadly associated with diabetes complications, the causal inference analysis revealed that prediabetes is only causally related with coronary artery disease, with no evidence of causal effects on other diabetes complications. In conclusion, prediabetes likely causes coronary artery disease and its prevention is likely to be most effective if initiated prior to the onset of diabetes.


External organisations
  • Novo Nordisk A/S
  • Umeå University
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Janssen Inc., Canada
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Article number4592
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch