Early screening for type 2 diabetes is cost effective and prevents
diabetes-related complications, including myocardial infarction and blindness,
according to a new study.
Using mathematical modeling to assess several screening strategies,
researchers determined the most cost-effective approach is to begin screening
patients for type 2 diabetes between ages 30 and 45 years, with follow-up every
3 to 5 years. The study involved a simulated population of 325,000 non-diabetic
30-year-olds using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data
from 1999 through 2004.
Cost effectiveness would improve further if type 2 diabetes screening
was combined with screening for other disorders, such as hypertension, lead
study author Richard Kahn, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine said.
“Every [organization] that has [type 2 diabetes screening]
recommendations, or wants to have recommendations, should look at this paper
and say, ‘This is the best data we’re going to get,’” Kahn said.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) calls for screening every 3
years beginning at age 45. Earlier screening is recommended for those at
greater risk of the disease, including people who are overweight or obese, have
a family history of diabetes or are black, Hispanic or Native American.
In 2007, 23.6 million Americans had been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2
diabetes, according to the ADA. About 90% of those cases were type 2 diabetes.
About 5.7 million Americans have diabetes but don’t know it.