According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, only half of the adults in the United States were screened within the last three years for diabetes; therefore, one-third of the people with diabetes are not diagnosed with this life-threatening health condition.
Sara Stark Casagrande, Ph.D., epidemiologist at Social and Scientific Systems, Inc., and lead author of the study, stated that the prevalence of screening for diabetes of U.S. adults age 20 and above was 43.6 percent and focused primarily on people who are overweight and obese (due to the increased national attention to obesity).
The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults over 45 be screened for diabetes, even though they have no symptoms of diabetes. The importance of testing is great because the incidents of obesity has increased, and obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Many are not surprised at the results of the study because there have been similar results in past studies.
Various factors play a role in the lack of testing for diabetes. For example, fear plays a role with many people. They are afraid of the diagnosis of diabetes and the possibility of the long-term complications from diabetes. As well, many people only seek medical care when they are ill where a current illness (i.e., flu, bronchitis etc.) only is addressed and not an overall body examination for health issues other than that current illness at that time. Too, some people do not have health insurance and cannot afford to have a primary health care physician at all times, so their screenings for various health conditions are not addressed. Hopefully, more and more people will be gaining insurance coverage, and this might encourage people to get more screenings on a regular basis.
Casagrande added, “We hope that health professionals realize that there is a large portion of the U.S. population who are not being screened but should be, according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines. The fact that many of these people also have comorbidity and potential complications of diabetes emphasizes the importance of detecting diabetes and delaying progression of these conditions.”
Marjorie Cypress, Ph.D., president of Health Care and Education of the American Diabetes Association stated, “Instead of waiting for people to get screened, we may need to take diabetes screening to where the people are – like workplaces or churches, which may be vitally important for those who are at high risk for diabetes.”