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Who Should be Screened for Diabetes?

In the United States, diabetes affects approximately 29.1 million people (as of 2012) and is the 7th leading cause of death. The incidence of diabetes is increasing due to many factors, including an increased prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity.

Timely screening can lead to early diagnosis which slows disease progression and ultimately long-term complications such as heart attacks, neuropathy, and irreversible kidney damage, among others. Studies have shown that those who do not undergo appropriate screening can have high blood sugar for 9 to 12 years without showing any signs or symptoms. Because of this, screening is very important if you have risk factors, even if you aren’t showing symptoms of having high blood sugar.

The following recommendation by the ADA (American Diabetes Association) exists:

  1. ALL adults who fit the BMI criteria and 1 or more risk factors should be screened at any age

  2. Adults who meet the BMI criteria without an extra risk factor can wait until 45 years old for screening

  3. Testing should be repeated at least every 3 years for those with normal results

What are the risk factors? If you have any of the following risk factors, download Tria’s Diabetes Risk Assessment form and talk to your doctor to see if additional testing is needed.

  1. BMI greater than or equal to 25 (for Asian Americans the cut-off is greater than or equal to 23)

  2. Physical inactivity

  3. Parent(s) or sibling(s) with diabetes

  4. High-risk race/ethnicity (African America, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander)

  5. You have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs

  6. You had gestational diabetes

  7. High blood pressure (above 140/90 mmHg) or you take medications to treat high blood pressure

  8. HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) less than 35 mg/dL

  9. Diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome

  10. You have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes on previous testing

  11. You have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance

  12. You have a history of cardiovascular disease

For additional resources on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

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