Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes Caught Early Saves Lives, Money

Screening for Type 2 Diabetes Starting at Age 30-45 Reduces Deaths, Costly Health Complications
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 29, 2010 -- Early screening for type 2 diabetes not only saves lives, but it could save money in the long run through early intervention.

A new study shows that starting screening for diabetes between the ages of 30 and 45 would prevent a significant number of heart attacks, deaths, and diabetes-related health complications and add years of healthy living for people in the U.S.

“Our analyses suggest that screening for type 2 diabetes is cost-effective when started between the ages of 30 years and 45 years, with screening repeated every 3-5 years," write researcher Richard Khan of the American Diabetes Association and colleagues in The Lancet.

“For example, if screening is started at 30 years of age and repeated every three years, about seven myocardial infarctions [heart attacks] per 1,000 people aged 30 years could be prevented over 50 years," they write. "The same screening strategy can be expected to add about 171 QALYs [quality-adjusted life years] per 1,000 people.”

In the study, researchers used information from a representative sample of the U.S. population to create a simulated population of 325,000 people aged 30 without diabetes and then used a computer model to compare eight diabetes screening methods vs. no screening. The screening methods differed in terms of age at initiation, frequency of screening, and whether patients were visiting their doctor specifically for diabetes screening or as part of a visit to monitor high blood pressure.

In their model, once type 2 diabetes was diagnosed it was treated in the standard manner, and researchers estimated the impact of treatment on the rates of heart attack, stroke, diabetes-related health complications, and additional years of healthy life over the next 50 years. They also compared the cost-effectiveness of each screening method.

The results showed that compared with no diabetes screening, all of the diabetes screening strategies:

  • Reduced the number of heart attacks (3-9 heart attacks prevented per 1,000 people screened)
  • Prevented diabetes-related complications (3-9 events prevented per 1,000 people screening)
  • Added 93-194 additional healthy life years per 1,000 people screened

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
Woman serving fast food from window
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
are battery operated toothbrushes really better

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture