The problem with pre-diabetes and even diabetes is that very often the person can have it and not know it. Of course if you are overweight - we might suspect it - but frankly, not every person who is overweight gets diabetes. So we need better ways to identify these patients so that we can intervene with strategies that that can minimize progression of the disease. And a big problem remains that a so-called risk factor in one person may not be a risk factor in another person.
A researcher from the University of Missouri has created a tool to identify people that he feels are at the highest risk for having "undetected hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar), impaired fasting glucose (IFG), and undiagnosed diabetes." It's called the "Tool to Assess Likelihood of Fasting Glucose Impairment" (TAG-IT) and it's designed to use factors that people can self-observe, self-report or factors that are easily measured. The 6 factors include:
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Family history
- Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
- High blood pressure (actually measured)
The grim reality is that we are seeing IFG and insulin resistance in younger and younger patients. Pre-diabetes is now a child and teen concern. The TAG-IT tool can help doctors assess a patient's risk. It can then encourage high-risk patients to adopt habits and strategies that will modify some of the 6 factors and reduce their risk of developing full-blown diabetes. The tool even has the potential to become a web-based screening tool that could potentially improve people's awareness of diabetes risk.