New study results in call for type 2 diabetes screening to be re-evaluated

by Barbara Hewitt on October 14, 2015

The process for screening for type 2 diabetes or those at high risk of the condition needs a careful re-evaluation, according to the first study on the effectiveness of testing methods.

Diabetes screening is advocated in many countries around the world, but information on the response and diagnostic rates of different screening strategies is not available.

Blood-TestResearchers at the University of Leicester have now found that multi-step programmes lead to more people responding to screening invitations and the number of those needing a final test for a definite diagnosis being reduced.

This was irrespective of the invitation method, developmental status of the countries and/or whether the location of the programme is in an urban or rural setting.

The rate of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in a one-step programme was 6.6%, 13.1% when two steps were involved, but 27.9% in screening programmes involving three or four steps.

The number needed to be invited to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to detect one case of type 2 diabetes was 15 people for one step programmes, 7.6 for two steps and 3.6 for strategies with three or four steps.

Lead researcher Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said the study showed evidence for the overall response rate and yield of diabetes screening in the background of a variety of factors such as geographical area, invitation methods and locality of the population, which influences decision making when undertaking this task.

“We can conclude that performing a multi-step approach in a population screening increases the yield and decreases the number needed to screen by OGTT and in the two step approach it even increases the initial response rate to the invitation,” says Khunti. “In terms of absolute numbers, the highest yield of diabetes, however, is obtained in the one step studies where an OGTT is offered as a screening test to the population.

“The process of screening for type 2 diabetes or those at high risk of diabetes needs careful re-evaluation by local policy makers in each country especially in view of our findings.”

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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