New Study Questions the Importance of Diabetes Screening

While authorities proclaim the importance of diabetic screening, a new report questions the necessity. According to the study, diabetes screening may not lower the risk of death from the disease. The results of the study were published this month in the medical journal The Lancet.

The English study looked at the death rate of more than 20,000 people in their 4th, 5th and 6th decade of life, over the course of 10 years. The patients were divided into three groups, two that were screened for diabetes and one that was not. The two subject groups that were screened for diabetes followed intense or routine management procedures.

Surprisingly, those that did not receive the screening for the disease did not have a higher death rate. The study also revealed there were no significant differences among the groups’ death rate caused by diabetes.

Dr. Simon Griffin, author of the study, said:

"It seems that the benefits of screening might be smaller than expected and restricted to individuals with detectable disease. However, benefits to the population could be increased by including the detection and management of cardiovascular risk factors alongside the assessment of diabetes risk, performing repeated rounds of screening and improving strategies to maximize the uptake of screening."

Is Screening Worth the Cost?

In a follow-up report, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s senior advisor Michael Engelgau said:

"Diabetes screening and diagnosis can be done with relative ease, which further escalates popular support for wide-scale screening. However, these compelling arguments overlook the screening costs, potential harm and lack of clear evidence that screening improves health outcomes compared with current routine clinical diagnosis."

Engelgau went on to congratulate the study authors for "taking the screening quandary head-on." He also warns that one study on a specific population may lead to geographic simplicity. He says that screening procedures will likely continue to be "country-specific."

Sources:
http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=669252
https://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/team/michael-engelgau

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