Diabetes screening guidelines strengthened
All adults should be tested by age 45
From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland diabetes
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Of the estimated 16 million people in the United States
with diabetes, about half of them don't know they have it.diabetes
In an effort to improve that situation, new recommendations have been
issued calling for changes in the way diabetes is detected and diagnosed.
The guidelines were developed by an international panel of experts and have
been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health.diabetes
For the first time, all adults are being urged to undergo a blood test
for diabetes by age 45 and have additional tests every three years thereafter.
Previously, only people who doctors suspected might have diabetes were screened.diabetes
"Potentially, there are 1 to 2 million people in the population who could
be diagnosed using this criteria," said Dr. Richard Eastman of the NIH.
"We think that many will be diagnosed, since it's a relatively easy test
to perform on routine blood work done in a doctor's office."diabetes
There's another change being recommended in the arena of diabetes screening.
Previously, a blood sugar reading of 140 or more would result in a diagnosis
of diabetes. The new threshold is 126.diabetes
"The problem with the former cutoff of 140 is that by the time people
were diagnosed with diabetes, about 20 percent already had complications,"
Eastman says. "We know that the risk goes up sharply for those complications
when the blood sugar gets to be about 126."diabetes
Preventing complications is the impetus behind the new recommendations.
Early diagnosis of diabetes is the key to preventing eye, heart, kidney
and nerve damage that can be caused by an untreated diabetic condition.diabetes
"It's really a pity when the first time we see someone who's diagnosed
as diabetic is when they're having their heart attack or when they're having
a hemorrhage into their eye," says Dr. Carol Teutsch, a diabetes specialist.diabetes
Once a diagnosis is made, controlling blood sugar starts with diet and
exercise. Some people also will have to take insulin or medications.
For those without diabetes, some studies suggest that exercise and good
nutrition may prevent people from developing the condition. A large study
now under way should provide a definitive answer in three to four years.diabetes