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Routine blood test may identify people with pre-diabetes, cutting later treatment costs
Date:1/6/2011

lowering your need for health care," said Dr. Ackermann, who is associate director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center at the IU School of Medicine and director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Community Health Engagement Program.

Fasting tests, which are currently used to screen for pre-diabetes are difficult to administer primarily because they usually require two visits to the physician's office and because patients often forget to arrive on an empty stomach when they return for the test. The A1c test can avoid both of these problems because it can be performed on a single visit, even if a person has eaten. It is estimated that currently only 7 percent of all Americans with pre-diabetes have been tested and are aware of their status.

"Type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly with the increasing rate of obesity and has reached epidemic proportions in this country. Identifying pre-diabetics and halting the disease could prevent millions of individuals from developing diabetes and would avert the very high future costs of treating it. Lifestyle interventions in the pre-diabetic stage offer benefit not only by preventing type 2 diabetes but also by reducing cardiovascular risk factors," said Dr. Ackermann.

In 2002, the Diabetes Prevention Program, a large clinical trial, determined that diet and exercise sharply lower the risk that a person with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes. In a 2006 study Dr. Ackermann reported that it would be cost effective for Medicare to pay for diabetes prevention at age 50 rather than to deny prevention benefits until age 65 when many individuals will have already developed the disease.

Since that 2006 study, health insurance companies have taken a much closer look at paying for structured diabetes prevention programs as a means to improve health and to help curb the runaway costs of health care. In 2010, the UnitedHealth Group, a large nationwide health insurance ca
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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