October 4, 2023

Study: Routine ER screening catches undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, prediabetes

By: Brita Belli

Editor's Note

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes often go undetected, and late detection can lead to long-term complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, and retinopathy. Screening for type 2 diabetes in the emergency department could reveal thousands of previously undiagnosed cases each year, EurekAlert! October 3 reports. 

These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Hamburg, which is currently happening until October 6. The study included 1,388 patients without a diabetes diagnosis who visited an emergency room (ER) at a hospital in England and were selected at random. The patients were screened for type 2 diabetes using a glycated hemoglobin test that gives an indication of average blood glucose levels over the previous months along with a questionnaire about risk factors.

Among the findings:

  • 420 patients (30%) were found to have prediabetes—meaning they were at risk of developing the condition–and 120 patients (9%) were found to have type 2 diabetes
  • patients of South Asian and other ethnic backgrounds were twice as likely to be diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes.

The findings indicate that there are tens of thousands of undiagnosed prediabetes and diabetes cases that could be diagnosed through routine ER screening. 


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