Lab Tests Critical to Detecting 79 Million Americans on Brink of Developing Diabetes
Washington DC — Laboratory tests are a critical component in helping the US confront the diabetes epidemic that is projected to cost $514 billion by 2025 – an increase of more than 100 percent and comparable to the total budget of today’s Medicare program.
Results for Life, an educational campaign focused on the value of laboratory medicine, applauds an article in the January issue of Health Affairs, titled: “The US Preventive Services Task Force Should Consider a Broader Evidence Base in Updating Its Diabetes Screening Guidelines.”
“We are very pleased that Health Affairs is focusing on the issues surrounding diabetes screening,” said Jen Bullard Bowman, Vice President for Policy and Regulatory Affairs at the American Clinical Laboratory Association. “Laboratory tests can help identify people at high risk of developing diabetes and monitor the success of lifestyle changes that may prevent the onset of diabetes and its costly complications.”
The Health Affairs article calls for the government’s preventive services task force to consider a broader range of evidence when it updates its recommendations on screening for Type 2 diabetes. The article suggests that more inclusive screening guidelines would identify more people who are at high risk of developing diabetes, and have opportunities to make lifestyle changes to prevent its onset.
About 79 million Americans have prediabetes, where glucose levels are above the normal range but lower than those of people with diabetes. About 25 percent of those with prediabetes go on to develop diabetes within three to five years.
Three laboratory tests – the fasting glucose test, the glucose tolerance test, and the hemoglobin A1c test – play a critical role in diagnosing prediabetes and monitoring the impact of changes in diet and other risk factors. Good control of blood glucose – detected by lab tests – can delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even death.
The American Clinical Laboratory Association represents the nation’s clinical laboratories. Results for Life is an educational campaign focused on the value of laboratory medicine. See LabResultsForLife.org.
The Health Affairs abstract is available at HealthAffairs.org.