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Screening 'Test' Gauges Diabetes Risk

Questionnaire Looks at Age, Gender, Weight, and Lifestyle

continued...

So let's do the math. Let's say:

  • You're 62. Give yourself 3 points.
  • You're a man. Give yourself another point.
  • You have no parents or siblings with diabetes. Jot down a zero.
  • You don't have high blood pressure and you're not on high blood pressure medication. Jot down a zero.
  • You're 6 feet 1 inch or 74 inches tall, and weigh 185 pounds. That produces a BMI of 24.4. Jot down a zero.
  • You are physically active, which gives you the right to subtract 1 point from the total.

In this example, the score is 3.

This means you're at low risk for undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. A 4 or greater would have placed you in the high-risk category for the conditions, and a 5 or greater means you're at high risk for undiagnosed diabetes.

The researchers recommend that you see your doctor if your score is high.

Lead author Heejung Bang, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, and colleagues didn't take the screening tool lightly. They analyzed data on 5,258 people, looking at their height, weight, and common risk factors, gathered through interviews, physical exams, and laboratory tests.

"We developed a screening score that can be used in a wide variety of community settings and clinical encounters," the authors write. "We believe it has good feasibility characteristics," is simple and takes very little time. "We see our screening score as a method of identifying persons in need of formal diabetes screening and of calling more attention to pre-diabetes."

The researchers say more than 60 million U.S. adults are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or prediabetes -- with about 30% of diabetes patients being undiagnosed.

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