Summaries for Patients |

A New Diabetes Screening Score FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Development and Validation of a Patient Self-assessment Score for Diabetes Risk.” It is in the 1 December 2009 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 151, pages 775-783). The authors are H. Bang, A.M. Edwards, A.S. Bomback, C.M. Ballantyne, D. Brillon, M.A. Callahan, S.M. Teutsch, A.I. Mushlin, and L.M. Kern.

Ann Intern Med. 2009;151(11):I-27-I-28. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-151-11-200912010-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Diabetes interferes with the body's ability to store energy from food. The pancreas makes a substance called insulin, which helps the body store energy from food. Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin. In type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes), the body makes plenty of insulin but cannot use it normally. In both cases, the result is high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and heart disease. Good care with diet, exercise, and medications can prevent complications. Type 1 diabetes usually does not go long before being diagnosed. However, many people with type 2 diabetes have it for years before symptoms begin.

Testing people who have no symptoms to try to detect type 2 diabetes early is called screening. Screening for diabetes involves blood tests to look for high blood sugar levels. Experts disagree about who should be screened for diabetes. Screening all adults would be expensive, and many people would have a false-positive result, which is a test result that says a disease is present when it actually is not.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To develop a screening score for diabetes that people could complete on their own to help them decide whether they were at high risk for diabetes and should see a doctor to have blood sugar measured.

Who was studied?

Participants from 1 large national study and 3 other studies.

How was the study done?

The researchers examined the relationship between patient factors and the presence of undiagnosed diabetes in participants from 1 study to see which factors could best predict who had diabetes according to blood tests. They then tested the score by applying it to participants in the other 3 studies.

What did the researchers find?

Age, sex, family history of diabetes, personal history of high blood pressure, obesity, and physical activity could identify people at high risk for diabetes. This score is shown in the Figure on the reverse of this summary. It seems to work better than other available scores.

Grahic Jump Location
Self-assessment screening score for undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes.
Grahic Jump Location

What were the limitations of the study?

The score did not include information on whether women had diabetes during pregnancy, which might have improved the score.

What are the implications of the study?

This new scoring system may help people decide whether they should see their doctors for blood sugar tests.


Grahic Jump Location
Self-assessment screening score for undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes.
Grahic Jump Location




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