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Screening for Type 2 Diabetes in Unconventional Settings Simplified

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Sep 2011
Print article
A simple blood test at high street opticians could help to diagnose diabetes. People who do not routinely visit their GP could also be screened in their chiropodist's or dentist's office, or even in pharmacies.

A pilot study, carried out by the Center for Integrated Healthcare Research, School of Medicine and Health, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University (Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom) and The William Kelly Diabetes Center, The James Cook University Hospital, (Middlesbrough, United Kingdom) focused on opticians.
Out of 1,000 people visiting their opticians for an eye test who were found to have one or more risk factors of diabetes, such as increased body mass index or aged over 40, almost 32% were referred to their GP for further investigation after having their blood glucose levels checked.

Currently, most screening for diabetes is carried out in medical settings, mostly by family doctors, but there are many people who do not visit their GP for preventative care, even if they are in an at-risk group. The pilot study indicates that opticians are an under-utilized resource in the efforts to identify the large numbers of people with undiagnosed diabetes.

The findings of this study were published in the July 1, 2011, British Journal of General Practice. Lead author Dr Jenny Howse from Durham University's School of Medicine and Health, said, "The screening test is less invasive and time consuming than fasting blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance tests. Already pharmacists and chiropodists have shown it is feasible to offer screening in their practices, here in the UK as well as in Australia and Switzerland. In the US, 60% of adults visit dentists at least once a year for standard check-ups and those practices could be suitable locations to screen for diabetes."

"In the UK, our initial results show screening for diabetes in opticians is a feasible option but we now need to look at the practicalities of delivering it, including liaison between opticians and GPs and the time costs for opticians."

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