Advance Screenings the Way of Limiting Diabetes?

Advance Screenings the Way of Limiting Diabetes: A recent UK study suggests it may be possible to predict up to five years in advance whether an individual will develop diabetes. However this answer only satisfies part of a complex question.

The study took a look at over 6,000 UK civil servants for more than a dozen years as part of their overall findings. The participants were primarily male and Caucasian.

The findings suggest that certain functions of the body seem to alter as much as five years prior to a diagnosis of onset diabetes. These include beta-cell function as well as fasting blood glucose levels.

Experts aren’t really sure what the findings ultimately mean. The results would make sense if there were regular screenings that monitor these issues, but in many cases individuals do not visit their health care provider for regular diabetes screenings. In effect the doctors would have nothing to compare new data to if the patient had never been screened before.


What does have the medical community excited is that this type of screening could serve as a means to address behaviors that could lead to diabetes as much as five years prior to a potential diagnosis. If a trend is noted an individual could adopt lifestyle changes that might delay or stop the advance of diabetes potential.

Numerous factors make this study something that provides compelling possibilities without offering a specific course of action. What that means is there seems to be ample evidence that earlier screenings may provide greater ability to catch the advance of diabetes before it requires a full diagnosis. However, the study compared a group that was heavily loaded in favor of both the male gender and the Caucasian race.

Diabetes UK spokesperson Pav Kalsi told the BBC, “Although these markers provide a good indication of future type 2 diabetes the lack of sensitivity and specificity means we cannot know for certain, so we’d welcome further research into this promising area of study.” There are other similar studies with other nationalities, but in the end this study will simply be a call for more research that includes a broader range of study groups and gender types.

British Heart Foundation spokesperson Judy O’Sullivan also told the BBC, “This study provides better data than we have had before to show that those who are going to get diabetes have signs they are at risk for several years before the disease becomes clinically obvious.

“This reinforces the view that more careful and frequent earlier routine screening could lead to a significant gain in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease.”

Dr Adam Tabak was the lead researcher on the UK study and suggests, “Our model may help detect people at high risk to develop diabetes, so we can better target these people to prevent the development of the disease.

“We believe that an earlier intervention – before the conventional prediabetes stage – could delay diabetes development substantially.”

MedPageToday.com indicates this research supports, “A multistage model of diabetes development with a long compensatory period, then a stable adaptation, and finally a transient unstable period with a rapid rise of glucose to overt diabetes.”

It is this “rapid rise of glucose” that has health care professionals hoping that a better screening method could be used to hold back the tide on Type 2 diabetes diagnoses.