Researchers from the University of Leicester estimate that the NHS Health Check, dubbed ‘health MOTs’, are expected to uncover nearly half a million new cases of kidney disease and type 2 diabetes and people at high risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease .
The NHS Health Check programme involves a number of health tests for over 40s. The programme was launched in 2009 and is being rolled out over 5 years. The Department of Health expected the programme to detect over 20,000 cases of diabetes and/or kidney disease but the recent research estimates that the figure is likely to be in excess of 150,000.
Whilst a diagnosis of diabetes is no-one’s best news, an early diagnosis of diabetes provides a better chance of controlling diabetes and preventing diabetes from causing long term damage before it is treated.
Because type 2 diabetes can come on gradually, people diagnosed with the condition may already have signs of long term damage as a result of untreated diabetes. By helping to diagnose diabetes earlier, the Health Check programme therefore enables blood sugar levels to be brought under control earlier, therefore significantly reducing the likelihood of diabetes complications developing.
The researchers estimated that over 200,000 people at high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease will also be identified by the Health Check programme. Identifying a high risk of diabetes can help to reduce the likelihood or significantly delay the development of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle interventions.
The study, ‘Joint Prevalence of Diabetes, Impaired Glucose Regulatio, Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Chronic Kidney Disease in South Asians and White Europeans’ is published in the Plos One journal. The Department of Health and Diabetes UK supported the research.

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