Diabetes Screening Is To Take Charge and Feel Better in the Process



Diabetes screening is for people who do not have the symptoms but may be at risk. Otherwise if they have symptoms, diagnostic tests have to be performed. This is the difference between testing and screening, the purpose of the latter being to find out those who are likely to have diabetes.

When is it appropriate? There are seven criteria to be met to warrant the need for this procedure. For what is the need for this if its effectiveness is not ascertained? Will early detection really be of help? Well anyway, here are the seven criteria to be satisfied to make this a viable option:

  • Understanding of the history of the diabetes
  • Diabetes is a significant health problem that is a burden to everyone concerned.
  • There are acceptable and reliable tests to determine pre-diabetes.
  • Diabetes can be recognized and diagnosed at its earliest stage even without symptoms.
  • Treatment after detection from the procedure shows better result than those whose treatment is delayed.
  • The procedure to find out the ones who are likely to have diabetes is a continuing process rather than just a one-time wonder.
  • The expenses are reasonable compared to the overall health expenditure.

From the above criteria, it is clear that the first four are easily met but not so with the rest. The reason behind this is the lack of clinical trials that are randomized to yield result showing that it has been effective in lowering the mortality and morbidity rates.

It is a known fact that treating diabetes is effective in lowering the microvascular complications; it is not known if the additional years of treatment after the procedure will yield more improvement. This is what they are looking for to justify the expense of diabetes screening.


The Diabetes Prevention Program may be able to answer this if it can prove the reduction in type 2 diabetes due to lifestyle intervention against those who have been treated as a result of a diabetes screening is so. In that case, this procedure is warranted and justified.

Whether it is effective or not is another issue to be considered. Really, much depends on where it is carried out. If it is done outside a health care facility, then it could be less effective. Why? Because those whose result is positive may not get the proper care and follow-up needed.

In the same vein, those who test negatively may not get repeat testing down the road. Another disadvantage when this is not done in a health care facility is that those who undergo this procedure may not be the ones who need it most but just those who are at low risk and the result may not be discussed with a doctor. The compliance to suggestions will be low.

Health care providers are encouraged to consider diabetes screening for their patients 45 years and over every three years but should do it to younger patients and more often if they are overweight and have the other risk factors as follows:

  • Overweight
  • Over 45 years old
  • With family history of diabetes
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • History of gestational diabetes and giving birth to a baby weighing over nine pounds
  • Race or ethnic group like African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders
  • High blood pressure
  • Low good cholesterol and high bad cholesterol levels
  • Previously established IFG or IGT
  • History of vascular disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

Diabetes screening may be covered by Medicare for up to two times a year. Those who are at increased risk for diabetes (see if you have some of the above factors) may be covered including the cost of monitors, lancets and test strips. Even the training for self management could be covered.

Inquire from everyone who can give you an answer to these questions. Don't accept the first answer you get as gospel truth as there may be precedence in people in the same circumstances as you who got covered including the cost for diabetes screening.

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