New diabetes screening guidelines may miss half of patients

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The diabetes and prediabetes screening guidelines recommended in 2015 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force may only detect about half of at-risk adults and disproportionately fail to identify racial and ethnic minorities who are at-risk, according to a recent study.

Published in PLOS Medicine, the study aimed to determine what types of patients were deemed eligible for diabetes screenings, received tests and developed dysglycemia — abornomalities in blood glucose levels that can lead to diabetes — over a three-year period.

Researchers examined EHR data from primary care patients at U.S. community health centers across the Midwest and Southwest between 2008 and 2010 and applied 2015 diabetes screening criteria. They found the screening guidelines would have identified approximately half of the patients who actually developed dysglycemia over a three-year period. They also found minorities were significantly less likely to be found eligible for screening, yet were more likely to develop dysglycemia than the white patients in the study.

Based on these findings, the researchers suggest providers screen patients from racial and ethnic minority groups for prediabetes and diabetes even before they meet age and weight ranges recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, though they may need to weigh the benefits of screening with the possibility of incurring out-of-pocket costs for their patients.


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