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Have you been screened for diabetes? SHOULD you be?

Posted by Sharon W on 8/26/03 at 14:19 (128060)

Mention has been made here of diabetes, recently, and I think it's an important topic to be aware of.

Researching the subject only briefly, I was shocked to notice a report saying that one third of diabetes cases have not been diagnosed. Well, here's a Reuters story based on an article from Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, August 18, 2003, about how that problem could be avoided -- if doctors would only follow the guidelines to screen for diabetes that they have been asked to follow...

But since that obviously DOESN'T always happen, and since if you do have diabetes it's much better to KNOW about it and get treatment for it right away, I thought this article might be of interest to some of us here. It explains how often we SHOULD be tested for diabetes, according to the current guidelines, depending on our age and how many risk factors we have (excerpts follow).



Screening Could Catch All New Diabetes Cases


By Megan Rauscher

Last Updated: 2003-08-18 17:00:37 -0400 (Reuters Health)

'Given that about one third of diabetes cases go undiagnosed, two researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston wondered whether screening guidelines, adopted by several medical societies, are adequate to catch new cases of diabetes.'

'The guidelines recommend that people without any symptoms should be screened for diabetes every 3 years starting at age 45. In people with risk factors, screening could be more frequent and begin earlier.'

'They found that screening all adults who have at least one risk factor for diabetes would catch nearly 100 percent of new cases of diabetes but would require that 83 percent of the adult population be screened.'

'The fact that one third of diabetics continue to go unnoticed suggest that the guidelines are not being followed, the authors note in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.'

'Another 'notable' finding, according to the team, is that minorities often develop diabetes before age 45, the currently recommended age to begin screening. This 45-year cutoff may need to be reconsidered, Weller told Reuters Health.'

'Very simple rules like testing everyone 45 years of age and older may not be the best rule to follow because that would miss almost half of the minority patients,' she said. 'A better simple rule is to remember to test whites that are 40 and older and minorities that are 30 and older.'

Re: Have you been screened for diabetes? SHOULD you be?

Sharon W on 8/26/03 at 14:35 (128067)

I noticed that the article, above, didn't list what the risk factors for diabetes are. The one below DOES, and I included that excerpt:



One-Third of Diabetes Cases Missed Because Screening Guidelines Ignored, New Study Says


'Diabetes risk factors include being over age 45; being a member of a racial or ethnic minority; having high blood pressure; being overweight; having a family history of diabetes; and having high levels of fats in the blood. About 83 percent of the adult population has at least one risk factor for diabetes.'

'We could be detecting these patients and we're not. And we could be bringing them into treatment,' Weller said. 'The hope is that better management would delay or prevent complications.'

'Weller suspects that doctors aren't following the screening guidelines because they're too busy.'

'I just think they just have too much to do,' Weller said. 'We're asking them to do more and more in less and less time. I'm not sure this screening is a priority, but it should be.'

'Diabetes mellitus, marked by high blood sugar, is a leading cause of death in the United States. It's also the biggest cause of new cases of blindness, end-stage kidney disease and circulation problems resulting in amputations of the toes, feet or legs.'

Re: Have you been screened for diabetes? SHOULD you be?

Sharon W on 8/26/03 at 15:23 (128074)

I notice that they left out some of the diabetes risk factors: you should be checked for diabetes if you've ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), if you had a baby that weighed over 9 pounds, if you have (specifically) high triglycerides (I've read that it can indicate 'metabolic syndrome if your triglycerides are above 160), if you carry most of your excess weight around your abdomen, if you're African-American or Hispanic.


Re: Have you been screened for diabetes? SHOULD you be?

Kathy G on 8/27/03 at 17:41 (128193)

Thanks, as always, for that interesting information, Sharon. I always learn something from your posts!

Diabetes is, indeed, a killer and on the increase in our country. I suspect that many doctors screen only those patients who are educated enough to ask for it, since insurance companies would raise the dickens if they did it too often.