There could be substantial health benefits from the early diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes, a new study finds.
Screening to identify type 2 diabetes followed by early treatment was found to reduce cardiovascular risk factors within a five-year follow-up period. This was compared to patients who had no screening for type 2 diabetes.
This research was conducted by scientists at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan Medical School, United States.
They used data from the ADDITION-Europe study of diabetes screening and treatment, in which patients aged 40-69 from three different European countries were assessed for morbidity and mortality. Researchers combined this information with a computer simulation model of diabetes progression.
10 years after the start of the study, the simulations predicted that 22.4 per cent of patients with type 2 diabetes would suffer a stroke or heart bypass surgery. This was with a delay of three years in diagnosis and treatment.
When the diagnosis delay was six years, this figure rose to 25.9 per cent. However, researchers observed that if screening and routine care had previously been implemented, only 18.4 per cent would experience a cardiovascular event 10 years afterwards.
William Herma, M.D., lead author and professor at University of Michigan Medical School, said: “This research shows that the early identification of diabetes has major health benefits, and supports the introduction of measures such as screening to reduce the time between development of type 2 diabetes and its treatment.”
Researchers acknowledged that without a diabetes diagnosis, individuals may be treated for high blood pressure and to stop smoking in the interim, but believe any distortion from their findings would not be large.
The results of this study were published in Diabetes Care.

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