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Diabetes October 24, 2023

What Does the USPSTF Recommend? Screening for Diabetes

According to the CDC, 90-95 of the more than 37 million diabetic Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and many more are prediabetic. The AMA Ed Hub makes it easy to stay up to date on evidence-based recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF statement on Screening for Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes is an example. The updated guidance, published by JAMA in August 2021, differs from the 2015 recommendation in that the age to begin screening is lowered to 35 from 40, and it uses the term "prediabetes" to identify patients who are at high risk of developing diabetes.

What Does the USPSTF Recommend? Screening for Diabetes
  1. The USPSTF recommends...

    Screening adults aged 35–70 who are overweight or obese for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and offering to refer patients with prediabetes to effective preventative interventions.

  2. This applies to...

    Nonpregnant adults aged 35–70 who have overweight or obesity and no symptoms of diabetes.

  3. Implement this recommendation by...

    Assessing risk: Obtaining height and weight measurements to determine whether the patient is overweight or obese. Screening: Measuring fasting plasma glucose or HbA1c level or administering an oral glucose tolerance test.

  4. How often?

    The optimal screening interval is uncertain, but screening every three years may be reasonable for adults with normal blood glucose levels.

About one-third of the U.S. population is estimated to have prediabetes. So, what is it and why the lowered screening age? Prediabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The American Diabetes Association defines prediabetes in terms of fasting glucose ranges, glucose tolerance ranges and HbA1c ranges.

Based on data suggesting that the incidence of diabetes increases at age 35 compared with younger ages, and because of the benefits of interventions for newly diagnosed diabetes, the USPSTF lowered the age to begin screening to 35.

Familiarize yourself with this and other USPSTF guidelines on the AMA Ed Hub. You’ll not only find the independent panel’s recommendations on clinical preventative services—screenings, counseling, medications and more—but, in many cases, you’ll also have the opportunity to earn CME credit.

Learn more on this topic:

Stay current on all the latest USPSTF guidelines

Visit our USPSTF collection for the most up-to-date recommendations for patient care. Click "Add to My Interests" to receive ongoing updates from the USPSTF.


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