Diabetes could be predicted by regular blood tests

Washington: A recent study has claimed that diabetes could be detected in blood tests, thereby re-emphasising the need for one to conduct routine blood tests.

According to the study published in ‘PLOS ONE’, random plasma glucose tests could be used to predict which patients will develop diabetes.

Researchers showed that levels of glucose found during standard outpatient medical testing revealed patients’ likelihood of developing diabetes over the next five years, even when glucose levels did not rise to the level of diabetes diagnosis.

The research showed that glucose levels that normally would not be seen as indicating diabetes risk can in fact predict the disease’s development.
“Although screening for prediabetes and diabetes could permit earlier detection and treatment, many in the at-risk population do not receive the necessary screening,” noted Dr Mary Rhee, the lead author on the study.
Researchers examined data on these routine blood tests to see whether random plasma glucose levels could in fact predict which patients would develop diabetes in the future.

They studied data on more than 900,000 patients who were not already diagnosed with diabetes.

All patients had at least three random plasma glucose tests during a single year. Most of these tests were likely obtained “opportunistically”, that is, during regular doctor visits not specifically related to diabetes screening.

Over a five-year follow-up, about 10 per cent of the total study group developed diabetes. Elevated random plasma glucose levels, though not meeting the diagnostic threshold for diabetes, accurately predicted the development of diabetes within the following five years.

Patients with at least two random plasma glucose measurements of 115 mg/dL or higher within a 12-month period were highly likely to be diagnosed with diabetes within a few years. Glucose levels of 130 mg/dL or higher were even more predictive of diabetes.

As expected, demographics and risk factors known to be related to diabetes also predicted development of the disease.

Development of diabetes was infrequent in subjects whose highest random plasma glucose levels were below 110 mg/dL.

In light of these findings, the researchers recommend that patients receive follow-up diagnostic testing for diabetes, such as a fasting glucose or A1c test, if they have two random glucose tests showing levels 115 mg/dL or higher.