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Blood sugar checks at the optician?

31st August 2011

Experts have suggested that opticians should offer blood sugar checks alongside eye tests to help spot patients with undiagnosed diabetes.

bloodsugartest

Researchers from Durham University say a simple finger prick blood test could identify more people with type 2 diabetes.

A pilot study conducted in the north of England found that targeted screening picked up one case for every 100 people tested.

There are thought to be 850,000 undiagnosed cases of diabetes in the UK along with the 2.5m people who are known to have the condition.

The work, published in the British Journal of General Practice, followed a study where researchers asked five optometry practices to start offering finger prick tests to any customers attending for an eye check who had one or more risk factors of diabetes.

Of the 1,000 people tested, a third were found to have abnormally high sugar levels in their blood suggestive of diabetes and were advised to visit their doctor for further tests.

From that, 162 people took the advice and went to see their GP with 138 sent for more investigations leading to nine people being diagnosed with pre-diabetes and seven with diabetes.

Dr Jenny Howse, who led the research, along with colleagues at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, said: “The screening test is less invasive and time consuming than fasting blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance tests.”

However, the charity Diabetes UK does not recommend finger prick tests for risk assessment as they fear it can be misleading on its own.

 

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