Prediabetes Testing News: There are a couple of newsworthy stories that provide evidence that diabetes screening can take place in ways and places not previously used.
The first story deals with a breath analyzer test. The medical journal Diabetes Care indicated their researchers have made recommendations that “…this testing method is a novel way to detect pre-diabetes and early stage diabetes in a non-invasive way. This may be an ideal method for the large-scale testing of people who are at high risk for diabetes, and will be especially attractive in the testing of children who generally find blood extraction painful.”
The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston used this new method on 17 patients. Researchers tested with both conventional blood-testing methods as well as through the breath analyzer. What they discovered was the exact same results in side-by-side comparisons, but without the need to draw blood in the second scenario.
Seven of the 17 patients tested positive for early stage diabetes. Results are available within an hour of testing. Researchers indicate this process could allow for mass testing in large populations while not being invasive or intimidating.
Meanwhile TulsaWorld.com recently reported on new diabetes blood testing taking place at Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI). This testing procedure is part of a trial program paid for with grant funds.
OBI already provides free cholesterol screenings for all who donate blood. They also provide specific prostate screenings at a reduced price for blood donors.
The diabetes testing is limited to those who fall in an age range of 17-30 targeting blood donors in high school and college. The reason this testing is offered only to this age group has to do with the fact that many in this age category would not likely get tested believing that diabetes is a disease for someone older. Further, officials from OBI said, “We wanted to focus initially on those who have potentially a lifetime of good health ahead of them.”
More than 1,500 donors have been screened since the program started in August 2008. One donor was surprised to learn diabetes was present and many others who already knew they were diabetic were made aware that their diabetes was out of control. There were 117 donors who had elevated blood glucose levels that can be an early indicator of diabetes development. These individuals were encouraged to follow up with their primary care physician.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche along with Fenwal Blood Technologies provided the grants and testing supplies needed for this trial. It is unknown if OBI will be able to continue the diabetes screenings on a long-term basis for their blood supply donors, but for now one of the largest nonprofit regional blood centers in the country is providing a value added bonus for those volunteer to provide blood products that can be used to save countless other lives.
In both diabetes screening cases there is the potential to catch early signs of diabetes and work at management issues before the diabetes is out of control. It is easy to envision a time when breath analyzer tests can be administered in a school setting quickly and without pain or administered in a doctor’s office as part of a routine exam.
The reason this may be important is that in many cases individuals who have diabetes may often not be aware of its presence until an issue involving hospitalization brings the issue to light. Knowing early can allow the individual to make lifestyle changes that will positively impact their future.