Early detection of Type 2 diabetes may reduce heart disease and mortality

By Editor
21st May 2015
Latest news, Research

Screening to identify Type 2 diabetes followed by early treatment could result in substantial health benefits, according to new research.

Published this week in Diabetes Care, the study, led by researchers at the University of Michigan and the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, combined large scale clinical observations and innovative computer modelling.

It used data from the ADDITION-Europe study of diabetes screening and treatment, which it combined with a computer simulation model of diabetes progression. This revealed that screening followed by treatment led to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or death within a five-year follow-up period when compared to patients having no screening.

Professor William Herman of the University of Michigan, first author on the paper, said: “Comparing the results of our simulations with the real-world data gave us confidence that our model successfully predicts the impact of delaying diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes on future cardiovascular health outcomes.

“Diabetes can be debilitating for patients and costly for healthcare. This research shows that the early identification of diabetes has major health benefits, and supports the introduction of measures such as screening to reduce the time between development of Type 2 diabetes and its treatment.”

Professor Nick Wareham, senior author on the paper and Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, added: “This work shows the value of public health modelling to assess impacts and interventions for diseases such as type 2 diabetes that pose an increasing public health challenge.

“ADDITION-Europe is a large, high quality study, but even so there are limitations in how much direct clinical observation can tell us about the costs and benefits of screening. Computer simulations add an extra dimension which we hope will guide future research as well as the development of public health policy.”

Simon O’Neill, Diabetes UK Director of Health Intelligence, said: “This research highlights how early detection and treatment of Type 2 diabetes can help to reduce risk of diabetes-related complications and early death. This is because, as the study demonstrates, delaying diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes can increase risk of serious cardiovascular complications such as heart disease and stroke. Half of all people with diabetes are already showing signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed, which is why it is so important that people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed as early as possible.

“This is why we want to see an NHS Health Check offered to everyone who is eligible. This programme has the potential to find the 630,000 people who have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know it, and can help to ensure that they are given a prompt diagnosis and get the treatment they need to reduce their risk of complications. These complications are not only devastating for all those involved, but are also extremely costly to our health service, so better detection of Type 2 diabetes can help to save both lives and money.”

To download a copy of the paper, click here.

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