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Screening 'Test' Gauges Diabetes Risk

Questionnaire Looks at Age, Gender, Weight, and Lifestyle
By
WebMD Health News

Nov. 30, 2009 -- Are you overweight? Do you exercise? Do you have high blood pressure or relatives who have diabetes? Are you male or female?

Researchers have developed a simple, six-question screening test designed to help you determine whether you might be one of many millions of Americans who have diabetes or prediabetes but don't know it.

The questionnaire is published in the Dec. 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. It asks about your age, gender, health history, and lifestyle and then assigns points based on your answers. The total score (out of a possible maximum of 10) determines your risk of having diabetes.

There's no complex math involved, and your honest answers could save or prolong your life or help you head off serious problems caused by the disease. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to complete it, and there are online tools to help if you need them.

Here are some questions from the test, and an explanation of the scoring:

  • How old are you? There are four categories: less than 40, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, and 60 or older. For example, if you're less than 40, your score is zero, but if you're 60 or older, you get a 3.
  • Are you a woman or a man? If you're a female, give yourself another zero, but if you're a male, put yourself down for 1 point. Men are more likely than women to develop diabetes.
  • Do your family members (parents or siblings) have diabetes? If so, give yourself 1 point.
  • Do you have high blood pressure or are you on medication for high blood pressure? If so, give yourself 1 point.
  • Are you overweight or obese? If your body mass index (BMI) is under 25, you're OK, so just jot down a zero. If the number is 25.9 to 30, you're overweight, so give yourself 1 point. If it's over 30, you're obese, so jot down 3 points.
  • Are you physically active? If your answer is no, give yourself a zero, but if it's yes, subtract 1 point from the total.

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