Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

Screening criteria for diabetes and pre-diabetes

Written by Diane Archer

Thirteen percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, including 9 million people over 65, and 38 percent of Americans have pre-diabetes. Controlling the blood sugar, cholesterol level and blood pressure of people with diabetes can reduce the likelihood of stroke, heart attack and other symptoms. But, a new report in PLOS Medicine shows that 2015 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force screening criteria for diabetes and pre-diabetes (dysglycemia) may be failing to identify lots of folks.

The USPSTF criteria focus on people between 40 and 70 who are overweight or obese. However, the researchers found that these criteria are not comprehensive enough to pick up people with diabetes or pre-diabetes from high-risk groups, including  a disproportionate number of racial/ethnic minorities.

The report suggests that if primary care providers rely on the USPSTF  screening criteria, they may not be identifying a lot of people with dysglycemia. “The USPSTF screening criteria identified approximately half of patients who developed dysglycemia and proportionately fewer cases of dysglycemia among racial/ethnic minorities than whites.” The screening criteria should likely include some people under 40 and people who are not overweight.

In the meantime, patients screened who do not fit the screening criteria are likely to  incur out of pocket costs. Patients who fit the screening criteria are generally covered in full so long as they use network providers.

Medicare covers the full cost of a diabetes screening, as well as weight-loss counseling.

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