Early detection of type 2 diabetes via expanded screenings in adults does not prevent deaths from cardiovascular disease but does slow the progression of diabetes, according to a new report. A study from Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, published in Annals of Internal Medicine and entitled, “Screening for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task ForceScreening for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” was conducted to update the 2008 US Preventive Services Task Force review to help shape US treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes.
The 2008 guidelines were initiated to help millions of undiagnosed adults begin medical therapy to lower their blood glucose, cholesterol, and pressure to prevent diseases later in life. “Many people with early diabetes may not have symptoms, and thus do not seek care,” commented lead study author Dr. Shelley Selph, in a news story from Reuters.
In the study at hand, researchers looked through randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and systematic reviews for data concerning diabetic patient outcomes following screening. Two trials found no association between 10-year mortality benefit versus no screening. However, Dr. Selph believes, “It is possible that 10 years of follow-up is insufficient to detect a mortality benefit.”
An additional 16 trials showed that patients treated for impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) had a slowed progression to diabetes, but the patients did not benefit from a reduction of all-cause or cardiovascular mortality. One trial did show a decreased risk for mortality after 23 years.
The disparity between mid-term and long-term results identifies the need for more data collection and analysis. According to Dr. Betul Hatipoglu, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic, “It acknowledges that prevention of diabetes is possible. It would really be a disservice to the population at risk to not give them their second chance to know and prevent diabetes until we can prove that we are not helping but actually harming them by early intervention, which will be impossible in my opinion.”
Regardless, it appears that screening for diabetes can at least slow the progression of disease, backing the need to help individuals at risk for developing diabetes to seek medical guidance.