GPs will be asking patients to take a glucose test if they think they are at risk of developing diabetes
New guidelines from NICE the Government health watchdog recommend that GPs ask all patients over the age of 40 patients to provide data to help them identify those who may be at higher risk of developing diabetes. These patients will be asked to fill out an online form, such as the one on the Diabetes UK website.
Risk assessments will also be offered in surgeries, pharmacies and job centres. Using the answers provided by patients, GPs will identify anyone who is at high risk and ask them to come in for a blood glucose test. “Almost three million people are currently affected by diabetes, and it is likely to affect many more in the future,” says Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health excellence at NICE. And estimates suggest that figure will be around five million by 2025. The fear is that unless high-risk individuals are targeted earlier, with advice on how to change their diets and lifestyle in order to avoid the onset of the disease, a ‘tsunami’ of diabetes diagnoses threatens to overwhelm the NHS. Diabetes currently costs the NHS £9 billion a year.
It’s estimated that at least 90% of people who have type 2 diabetes could have avoided the disease had they changed their lifestyle in time. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and smoking are all factors that increase the risk and which are under the individual’s control.
As well as checking for diabetes risk factors, people over 50 should be offered other regular health checks, such as measuring BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure. For more details on these and other checks, visit the NHS site.