Over 24,000 people in Ireland could have undiagnosed diabetes following the largest screening study for diabetes in the Irish population.
The Diabetes Mellitus and Vascular health initiative (DMVhi) conducted a study on the prevelance of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and prediabetes among Irish adults aged between 45 and 75. The risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease was also assessed.
Fasting plasma glucose was evaluated in the participants, and those in the impaired range performed an oral glucose tolerance test. Prediabetes is characterised by the presence of higher than normal blood glucose levels.
Male participants were found to be two to three times more likely to have abnormal blood glucose levels, impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance than women.
When all age-gender groupings were analysed, prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance was also higher in males, while type 2 diabetes prevalence was highest in males aged between 65 and 75.
Overall, 24,110 people (95 per cent of participants) were estimated to have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, while 96,484 people were predicted to have impaired fasting glucose.
“The results of our research suggest that the rate of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is higher in Ireland than in similar European countries such as Britain and Holland,” said study author Dr Bernadette Carr, Vhi Healthcare Medical Director.
“By making some very simple lifestyle changes, people can improve their outcomes, and in the case of pre-diabetes can even delay or prevent progression to diabetes.”
The researchers now aim to investigate how this data can provide information on progression to diabetes and the outcomes of cardiovascular risks.

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