A team from the University of Exeter say they have discovered that people may have type 2 diabetes without any symptoms for many years before they are diagnosed.
The research team took a series of blood samples from 200,000 people aged between 40 and 70 using the UK Biobank database. They found there were more than 2,000 undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes among those people.
The team presented their findings at this year’s Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
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Lead researcher Dr Katherine Young said: “As people can have type 2 diabetes for many years without symptoms, diagnosis may be delayed, increasing the risk of complications. Our study shows that population-level screening could identify cases of type 2 diabetes far earlier and potentially reduce complications.
“The identification of these patients for whom primary care records are available in UK Biobank gives us a unique opportunity to study the impact of this delay on the risk of developing complications in the future.
“While preliminary results suggest that delays in receiving a diagnosis for those with undiagnosed diabetes did not significantly impact diabetes-related complications in this group of people, further research is required to ascertain whether screening for diabetes in this age group would reduce diabetes-related complications.”
The study was published in the Diabetologia journal.