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Practitioner. 2012 Jul-Aug;256(1753):25-7, 3.

Identifying patients at risk of type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1GP Watercress Medical, Medstead GPwSI Cardioogy, Southampton.


At present there are nearly 3 million people with diabetes in the UK. It is predicted that this number will almost double by 2025. Nine out of ten of these individuals will have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that one in seven adults have impaired glucose regulation and up to 12% of these will develop type 2 diabetes each year. The impact of obesity on the development of type 2 diabetes cannot be overemphasised, with a 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI raising the risk of impaired fasting glycaemia by 9.5% and of developing new-onset type 2 diabetes by 8.4%. A 1 cm increase in waist circumference increases the risks by 3.2% and 3.5% respectively. NICE advises using a validated risk assessment tool to identify patients at risk of diabetes. Risk factors used by such tools include: age; ethnicity; weight; first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes; low birthweight and sedentary lifestyle. Certain comorbidities increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, these include: cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease; polycystic ovary syndrome; a history of gestational diabetes; and mental health problems. The initial screening blood test could be a fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, or an oral glucose tolerance test, according to WHO criteria. NICE recommends that high-risk patients should be offered a programme encouraging them to undertake a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, gradually lose weight to reach and maintain a BMI within the healthy range, increase consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and other foods that are high in dietary fibre, reduce the total amount of fat in their diet and eat less saturated fat.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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