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Diabetes Screening Should Start Sooner
Date:3/30/2010

Study found checking for blood sugar disease earlier cut complications, costs,,

TUESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Current recommendations suggest that screening for type 2 diabetes start at age 45, especially for those who are overweight, but new research shows cost-effective screening can begin between the ages of 30 and 45 for everyone.

When screening began between ages 30 and 45 and was repeated between every year to five years, the average cost per quality-adjusted year of life was $10,500 versus $15,509 when screening began at age 45 and was repeated every year, the study found.

"If you start screening between 30 and 45, you are really getting cost-effective screening," said study author Richard Kahn, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who was with the American Diabetes Association at the time of the study.

More than 23 million Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Most have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body stops using insulin efficiently or doesn't produce enough insulin. Uncontrolled diabetes is associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, serious eye problems, infections and nerve damage, according to the ADA.

It's suspected that many people have had the disease for years by the time they're finally diagnosed because it has so few symptoms in its early stages. Other research has shown that diabetes treatments can help reduce the risk of complications, and the earlier they're started, the better.

To assess whether population-based screening could reduce complications and costs associated with diabetes, the researchers used a sophisticated computer modeling system.

"This model is a virtual replication of the world of health care, and takes into account cardiovascular and other complication risks, costs, tests, procedures, eve
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