Doctors in the UK could soon have access to a new tool to help them identify people at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Developed by a team of Scottish researchers, the online calculator is designed to help spot individuals who have a high chance of getting the metabolic disorder within three years.
The simple tool, which is specifically aimed at people who have been admitted to hospital for emergency care, works by determining a patient’s risk of type 2 diabetes based on their age, sex and blood sugar level, which is routinely checked during admission to hospital.
The experts behind the tool say the results of hospital blood sugar tests can help predict a patient’s short-term diabetes risk as their research showed the three-year risk of developing type 2 diabetes was around 15% for hospital patients with high average blood glucose readings (15mmol/l and above). By comparison, patients with normal glucose readings (less than 5 mmol/l) had a three-year risk of just 1%.
Dr David McAllister, epidemiology lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We don’t have a national screening programme for diabetes. Instead we rely on doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals being alert to the possibility of undiagnosed diabetes in patients they encounter, identifying those at high risk and offering appropriate lifestyle advice and testing. However, not all people may be willing to visit their GP for an assessment.
“This tool allows doctors to use the results of a test which has already been performed in order to identify people at increased risk. This could mean that patients who did not know they had diabetes – or were at an increased risk – could be diagnosed and offered appropriate lifestyle advice, support and in some cases treatment to reduce their risk of complications of diabetes.”
The tool was co-developed by researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, the University of Glasgow, and members of the Scottish Diabetes Research Network using analysis of blood glucose measurements of more than 86,000 patients aged 40 or older who were hospitalised in Scotland between 2004 and 2008.
The research findings were as published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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