Only half of adults over 45 are screened for diabetes

About half of all adults in the U.S. aren't screened for diabetes at the age they may be most vulnerable, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, reports, up to one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. And the fact that nearly half of people over the age of 45 haven't been screened for diabetes in the last three years suggests that medical practitioners aren't meeting screening guidelines set forth by the American Diabetes Association.

NHANES Survey

For the study, researchers analyzed responses from 21,519 adults who participated in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutritional Examination (NHANES) survey and the 2006 national Health Interview Survey.

Screening rates were shown to drop in specific populations - namely in men, Hispanics and Mexican Americans.

According to Dr. Majorie Cypress, president of health care and education of the American Diabetes Association, the reasons for low screening rates are varied.

“Fear keeps some people from being screened," Cypress said. "They’re afraid of what they may learn. Others only seek medical care when they are sick, and at that time they may not be screened for diabetes because the illness that brought them to a clinic is the priority at hand. Still others stay away from health care and screenings altogether because they don’t have health insurance, although that may be changing as more people gain coverage.”

The key to improving screening statistics is to create a sense of urgency, Cypress said.

"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."

Source: Center for Advancing Health
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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