Home Diabetes Care Why Diabetes Must be Screened by Age As a substitute of Weight

Why Diabetes Must be Screened by Age As a substitute of Weight

Why Diabetes Must be Screened by Age As a substitute of Weight


Diabetes is screened for based on many various aspects. There are not any regular screening guidelines for type 1 diabetes, as diagnosis is generally based on the normal symptoms of diabetes and confirmed with a blood test. 

Gestational diabetes is screened for with a glucose test while pregnant. For chubby and adults living with obesity between the ages of 35-70, screening for abnormal blood sugar levels (prediabetes) and type 2 diabetes is beneficial every three years. 

Individuals over age 40 who’re chubby and live with obesity who even have diabetes risk aspects, comparable to a family history of type 2 diabetes or in the event that they’re from higher-risk racial or ethnic backgrounds, must be considered for earlier and more frequent screening. Nonetheless, that’s not a tough and fast advice. 

Does diabetes screening based on body weight alone catch all cases?

These widely accepted recommendations for type 2 diabetes screenings rely solely on body weight. A recent  study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine argues that many cases of diabetes are missed this fashion, and suggests that screening must be based on age as an alternative. 

When the researchers checked out data collected from 3,243 non-pregnant adults without diagnosed diabetes, and without the BMI and weight thresholds across all demographics, the outcomes for catching prediabetes and diabetes were much higher in across all demographic groups. 

The study goes on to say that many individuals, especially people from Asian communities, develop type 2 diabetes at lower weight and lower body mass index (BMI). The proportion of Asian Americans, particularly, that were diagnosed on the younger age was much lower than the final population. 

Because of this current guidelines leave many individuals with undiagnosed prediabetes and sort 2 diabetes—taking months and even years before a correct diagnosis could possibly be made. To catch cases of pre diabetes and sort 2 diabetes in these communities, researchers suggest that diabetes screenings should occur in all adults ages 35-70 no matter their weight. 

Changing guidelines could possibly be a win for health equity 

Changing these guidelines can be an enormous win for health equity and would scale back biases, including weight bias, within the healthcare system.

It’s because Asian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Black adults experience abnormal blood sugar levels (prediabetes) and develop type 2 diabetes at each a lower body weight and lower BMI level. 

The USA Preventive Services Task Force updated their diabetes screening guidelines in 2021, lowering the age from 40 to 35. With more Americans are being diagnosed with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes at younger ages, this modification was long overdue. Nonetheless, some improvements could still be made to their recommendations, including removing weight and BMI requirements.

The professionals and cons of more testing 

Some analysts argue that a con of overtesting the broader population is getting many false-positives (many individuals without prediabetes or diabetes experience blood sugar spikes after eating), and that it’s one other unnecessary test for many individuals who wouldn’t leave with a diagnosis. 

A 2022 study found that between 1-2% of the U.S. population currently has undiagnosed diabetes, which is between 3-6 million people.

Nonetheless blood sugar tests are extremely inexpensive, quick and straightforward to acquire in a daily doctor’s office. There are few risks to an easy blood sugar check. 

This might not only improve health outcomes for a lot of, but additionally improve health equity across our healthcare system by shortening time from detection to diagnosis to treatment, vastly improving access to take care of underserved communities that face weight biases. 

Physicians, take note 

Even when the present recommendations from the USPSTF are still based on weight alone, doctors can take preventive health measures now and do routine blood sugar screenings for people over the age of 35, no matter their weight. 

This is particularly true for those from marginalized racial and ethnic groups who may develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body weight. 

If you happen to’re concerned that you could be experiencing abnormally high blood sugar levels and wish to be tested for prediabetes and diabetes, talk along with your doctor about getting screened. 

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight reduction
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Fruity-smelling breath 

(Click here to download our #SeeTheSigns graphic)

If you happen to are currently experiencing any of those symptoms and think you’ll have diabetes, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical assistance immediately. 

Undiagnosed diabetes and exceedingly high blood sugar levels can result in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious medical condition that could possibly be fatal if not treated promptly. If left untreated for months or years, undiagnosed diabetes runs of risk of great complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and premature death. 


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