early detection of diabetes

A recent study found that routine blood tests can help predict the risk of diabetes.

Diabetes is a global health concern. It can lead to various complications like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and neurological complications. Early diagnosis of diabetes ensures prompt care, thus minimizing the risk of developing these complications. However, many people remain undiagnosed until late. Scientists conducted a study, which was published in the journal Plos One, to demonstrate the importance of random blood glucose levels in predicting the future risk of developing diabetes.

For this study, researchers collected data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities. These Veterans had no prior history of diabetes. Their plasma/serum glucose, demographics and risk factors like blood pressure, smoking habits, were assessed every year.

Random blood glucose (RBG) levels of more than 200mg/dl are diagnostic of diabetes. According to this study, people with at least two RBG levels of more than 115 mg/dl within one year, had a higher chance of developing diabetes within five years. A smaller chance of diabetes was noted in patients whose RBG levels were below 110mg/dl.

Thus, the scientists recommend that further investigations for early detection of diabetes, like fasting blood glucose or A1c test, should be performed for patients with RBG levels more than 115mg/dl.

According to Rhee, one of the researchers, “These findings have the potential to impact care in the VA and in the general U.S. population. As random plasma glucose levels–which are convenient, low-cost, and ‘opportunistic’–could appropriately prompt high-yield, focused diagnostic testing and improve recognition and treatment of pre-diabetes and early diabetes.”

Early detection of diabetes helps prevent several long-term complications and ensure a better quality of life. Routine use of this simple, outpatient random blood glucose testing, may be beneficial in screening for the diabetic population. This study however, was limited to Veterans who were predominantly white males. Further validation would be necessary to confirm the results hold true across populations.

Written by Dr. Radhika Baitari, M.S

References:

Rhee, M., Ho, Y., Raghavan, S., Vassy, J., Cho, K., Gagnon, D., Staimez, L., Ford, C., Wilson, P. And Philips, L.(2019). Random Plasma Glucose Predicts The Diagnosis Of Diabetes. Plos One. [online] Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219964 [Accessed 28 Jul. 2019].

EurekAlert!. (2019). Routine blood tests could predict diabetes. [online] Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-07/varc-rbt071919.php [Accessed 28 Jul. 2019].

Image by Belova59 from Pixabay

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