A New Diabetes Screening Tool to Promote Early Detection

Research has shown that more than 60 million adults in the United States have diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or prediabetes. “Approximately 30% of diabetes cases are estimated to be undiagnosed,” says Heejung Bang, PhD. “Diabetes is a silent killer and many patients don’t know they have it, but clinicians can help patients by steering them to assess their risk on their own. With the steadily increasing prevalence of the disease, prevention of diabetes has become a major health priority, and the identification of high-risk people who may benefit from early lifestyle interventions is paramount.” National guidelines for diabetes screening are available to help detect undiagnosed disease. In addition, several risk assessment tools for prevalent or incident diabetes have been developed to identify patients who are most in need of screening. In the United States, national guidelines for diabetes screening have been released by the CDC, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the Preventive Services Task Force. In addition, two risk-scoring algorithms for undiagnosed diabetes have been derived from nationally representative samples. These methods have been developed using slightly different frameworks and purposes, but they are not widely used. “They often target specific populations,” says Dr. Bang, “and therefore may not be applicable to the general population, or may not be that simple to use.” A New Screening Tool In the December 1, 2009 Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Bang and colleagues had a study published detailing the development of a new screening score for undiagnosed diabetes in multi-ethnic U.S. adults by using readily-available health information. “Our aim was to improve existing algorithms for diabetes-risk scoring by using more contemporary...