The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening overweight and obese adults between the ages of 40 and 70 for abnormal blood sugar. Patients found to have high blood sugar should be referred to intensive behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthy diet and regular exercise. The recommendation is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Type 2 diabetes is a potentially debilitating disease that has risen in prevalence over the past 15 years. In 2012, 12 percent of American adults had diabetes and 37 percent had abnormal blood sugar levels that put them at increased risk for developing diabetes. Abnormal blood sugar levels occur when the body does not consistently break down and use sugar, but it is not yet severe enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. For people with abnormal blood sugar, changes in their lifestyle, such as eating healthier and exercising more often, have been proven to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
This is an update of the 2008 USPSTF recommendation statement in which the USPSTF recommended screening for diabetes in asymptomatic adults with hypertension. At that time, the USPSTF found insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening in adults without hypertension. Since the previous recommendation, six new lifestyle intervention studies have shown consistent benefit of lifestyle modifications to prevent or delay progression to diabetes and longer-term follow-up has increased confidence that such interventions can improve clinical outcomes. This new body of evidence led the USPSTF to conclude that there is moderate net benefit to measuring blood glucose in adults who are at increased risk for diabetes.