ADA seeks lower marker score for diabetes

About half of the 16 million Americans with diabetes do not know they have it, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in Alexandria, VA. To identify some of these people, the ADA recently recommended lowering the threshold for diagnosis and changing the frequency of testing for the disease.

A panel of international experts, in a report released at the ADA’s 57th Annual Scientific Sessions meeting in Boston, recommended that all Americans over age 45 be tested for diabetes and that those who test negative be retested every three years. The panel also recommended testing be considered at an earlier age or carried out more frequently for individuals at risk for diabetes, such as those who are overweight or have a family history of the disease. However, the panel recommended that pregnant women not be tested unless they are in the high-risk category.

In hopes of detecting the disease earlier, the panel would like to lower the marker score on the fasting plasma glucose test from 140 mg/dl to 126 mg/dl. Widespread and consistent use of this test could help identify many of the presently undiagnosed diabetics.

Suggested reading

Gavin III JR, Alberti K, Davidson MB, et al. Report of the expert committee on the diagnosis and classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care 1997; 20:1,183-1,197.