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Testing for Diabetes in Asymptomatic Patients

Testing for Diabetes in Asymptomatic Patients

In the United States, about 7 million people have undiagnosed diabetes, representing nearly one-fourth of all diabetes cases. Approximately 35% of adults aged 20 and older—or 79 million Americans—have prediabetes, a condition in which patients have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classi­fied as diabetes. These people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. “Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for undiagnosed diabetes in people who are older, obese, physically inactive, or have a history of abnormal glucose tolerance, including gestational diabetes,” explains Robert E. Ratner, MD. Those with hypertension, dyslipidemia, and a family history of diabetes are also at high risk. Furthermore, racial and ethnic minorities have been shown to be at greater risk for diabetes. In people with these risk factors, periodic glucose testing should be performed to evaluate their dia­betes status. “We need to identify people with prediabetes so that preventive measures can be undertaken.” “The movement toward screening for diabetes in people without symptoms has become increas­ingly important because of the growing number of cases of undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes,” explains Dr. Ratner. “To decrease the burden of the diabetes and obesity epidemics, clinicians need to diagnose patients as early as possible so that treatments can be administered early and so that diabetes-related complications can be man­aged and perhaps avoided. We need to identify people with prediabetes so that preventive mea­sures can be undertaken. The greatest opportunity for case-finding is in the clinical setting.” Type 2 Diabetes & Future Disease According to the American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Medical Care in...
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