More diabetes testing may help millions avoid the condition

Routine blood testing may help identify individuals who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which could cut the rate of disease and help lower the costs associated with treating and caring for metabolic conditions.

Recent indications have shown that diabetes is growing in prevalence and that costs are going through the roof. A recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that the rate of diabetes and cost of caring for those with the illness have more than doubled since 1996.

However, the new study found that healthcare providers may be able to counteract this trend. Reporting in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine found that regular screening for symptoms of pre-diabetes can reduce the number of individuals who develop the full condition.

The researchers said that as much as one third of the U.S. adult population has pre-diabetes, but that few are aware of their condition. Regular testing for the disease could help millions of people make lifestyle changes that allow them to avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

For the study, researchers gave A1c testing to 1,750 participants. They found that the procedure delivered rapid, accurate results and that implementing wider use of the test would be more cost effective than treating individuals for type 2 diabetes.

"Identifying more individuals with pre-diabetes through a simple test in a physician's office gives us a real opportunity to halt progression to the disease, which is clearly a win-win situation," said Ronald Ackerman, who led the study. "If you are pre-diabetic, losing as little as 10 to 15 pounds through diet and exercise can cut in half your chances of getting diabetes."
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