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  Screening for Type 2 Diabetes

By Amy Adams, MS

Reviewed By Jeremy Walston, MD

If you have Type 2 diabetes in your family, then you are at a higher risk for developing the disease than the general population. Because of the serious long-term consequences of diabetes, it is important to detect the disease early in order to prevent or delay damage to your heart, kidney, nerves, blood vessels, or eyes.


Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly over a period of years. During this time, a person may not know that they have diabetes, but still develop diabetes-associated eye, kidney, or heart problems. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association recommends screening high-risk people every three years after the age of 45. (For recent news about screening recommendations for Type 2 diabetes, see
Related News below.)

Risk factors include:

  • A family history of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • A personal history of gestational diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Delivering a baby weighing > 9 lb (diabetics often give birth to heavier babies)
  • High blood pressure
  • Being of African, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Island descent

If you meet any of these criteria, your doctor should administer a fasting glucose test or glucose tolerance test. These tests tell your doctor if your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. If they are, your doctor will work with you to keep your blood sugar at more normal levels. This may include diet, exercise, drugs that help your body use insulin more effectively, or even insulin injections.


Related News
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Medical group urges greater screening for diabetes
Waist circumference can help diagnose disease


American Diabetes Association (1999). Clinical Practice Recommendations 1999. Diabetes Care (Suppl. 1), 22, S1-S114.


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