Current diabetes screening recommendations may miss as many as half of all people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The guidelines, from the United States Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), are based on age (40 to 70) and weight (whether you’re overweight or obese).
Results of the study, published in the Journal of General Medicine, indicate that using an expanded set of risk factors would identify most people with abnormal blood sugar levels related to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. These criteria – which are suggested, but not recommended by the USPSTF – include family history of diabetes, personal history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and non-white race or ethnicity.
Early diagnosis and treatment reduces the risk for serious diabetes complications. According to researchers, African-Americans and Latinos are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes at younger ages than whites, and Asian-Americans are at increased risk even at a healthy weight. Current screening guidelines identify just 48 percent of African-Americans, 44 percent of Latinos, and 30 percent of Asian-Americans with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.