Call to extend screening for diabetes

GPs are being encouraged to screen people at high risk of type-2 diabetes to reduce progression to the disease in a consensus statement on preventing the condition published this week by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

Call to extend screening for diabetes
Call to extend screening for diabetes

The consensus, developed by representatives from diabetes organisations from around the world, suggests that healthcare professionals should identify people at high risk of type-2 diabetes opportunistically.

It recommends using a check for risk factors including age, waist circumference, family history, cardiovascular history and medication history.

Individuals at high risk should then have their plasma glucose level measured.

In people with fasting plasma glucose of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l or more, a glucose tolerance test should be carried out.

The presence of impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose indicates greatly increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

People at high risk of type-2 diabetes should be prioritised for lifestyle interventions, including advice on weight management, healthy eating and regular physical activity, to prevent progression to type-2 diabetes.

Professor Mike Kirby, a GP in Letchworth and visiting professor at the University of Hertfordshire, said the recommendations were achievable.

'I think early detection is very important. Many GPs are already doing this opportunistically. In my practice we have been doing it for years, and our prevalence of type-2 diabetes is only 5 per cent,' he said.

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