Hospital Testing Could Help Diabetes Diagnosis

According to the results of a recent study, hospitalized patients may be able to know well in advance whether they are at risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the future.

According to the results of a recent study, hospitalized patients may be able to know well in advance whether they are at risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the future.

The study, which was published in PLOS Medicine, looked at the blood glucose levels of more than 86,000 patients over the age of 40 who were hospitalized for an “acute illness” in Scotland between 2004 and 2008. Using data from the Scottish Care Information-Diabetes Collaboration national registry, the team then checked those patients against the records for a diabetes diagnosis, up to December of 2011.

For this cohort of patients, the researchers determined the risk of them developing type 2 diabetes over a 3-year stretch was 2.3%, “with the risk of developing diabetes increased linearly with increasing blood glucose level at admission.”

For patients with a glucose level of less than 5 mmol/l (90 mg/dl) the risk of being diagnosed was calculated at just 1%, but increased to closer to 15% for patients with readings of 15 mmol/l (270 mg/dl) or higher at the time of admission for treatment.

The researchers also looked at other factors during the study, including sex and socio-economic deprivation of the patients at the time of their admission. While there was data to support their findings, the authors noted that there were other factors to consider.

“They also suggest that a high blood glucose reading in these circumstances usually indicates stress hyperglycemia rather than type 2 diabetes,” they said. Other factors not considered with the results included ethnicity or body mass index.

They did suggest that patients who are admitted to the hospital for an acute illness with a blood glucose level of 11.1 mmol/l or higher “should be offered follow-up testing.”

“These findings can be used to inform individual patients of their long-term risk of type 2 diabetes and to offer lifestyle advice as appropriate,” the authors noted.

As part of their work the team also created a diabetes risk calculator that can be used to help determine how likely they are to develop type 2 diabetes.

Funding for the study was provided by a grant from the Chief Scientist Office for Scotland.