New Delhi: Adults should now be screened for Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes starting at age 35, the United States Preventive Services Task Force said Tuesday. The independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention said they are revising their recommendations for initial screening age for adults, especially those who are overweight or have obesity, saying getting tested at a younger age could help people avoid serious health complications later in life.
The panel had last updated its diabetes recommendations in 2015.
The revised recommendations suggest people aged 35 to 70, who are overweight or obese, should be screened for diabetes and prediabetes — changed from the previous recommended age range 40 to 70 years.
Diabetes is diagnosed when a person’s fasting blood glucose is found to be 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, according to the World Health Organization.
The fasting blood glucose range of 70 mg/dL to 100 mg/dL is considered normal.
If the reading is between 100 and 125 mg/dL, changes in lifestyle and monitoring glycemia are recommended. This condition is termed as prediabetes when the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not enough to declare a patient diabetic.
Why Earlier Screening?
According to the panel, the change in the recommendations comes after research showed diabetes incidence increases at 35 years of age, and that early medical treatment for newly diagnosed diabetes could help in lowering the risk of heart attack and premature death.
Early screening is expected to capture more people with undiagnosed and untreated diabetes.
The panel said cohort and modelling studies suggest adults with normal blood glucose levels should go for screening every three years.
Diabetes: Prevalence And Prevention
A 2020 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said an estimated 13 percent of all adults in the country have diabetes, while 34.5 percent have prediabetes.
According to medical experts, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, liver damage, and even blindness.
In the US, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness among adults, the panel said in its report.
Diabetes has also been designated as one of the comorbidities that put people at a greater risk of serious illness if they get Covid-19.
The panel looked at studies that showed progression of prediabetes to diabetes was reduced by improving diet, increasing physical activity and making other such lifestyle interventions.
With obesity considered a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle interventions were found to have a beneficial effect on weight, besides blood pressure and lipid levels.
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