What's the benefit of diabetes screening?

Asymptomatic guy, obese, no high blood pressure. Do you screen him for diabetes? The USPSTF says the evidence is Incomplete. "Would a hemoglobin A1C [diabetes test] change your management?" I ask. Always my first question - I'm a skeptic to a fault. "Sure," comes back the answer. "If it was 8, you'd start metformin, right?"

Well, maybe. But that's the problem of the screen. If their number is 8, we put them in the Diabetes box. Then we "know" that we need to get their A1C at 7 . . .

But why do we know that? The evidence isn't so great that 8, say, is all that much worse than 7 with regard to clinical outcomes in an asymptomatic patient without evidence of micro- or macrovascular disease. Yes, if the number were 9, 10, 11, 12, then the answer becomes more and more definite, but you're going to start seeing symptoms somewhere in that range anyway.

[links to come, I hope]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:14 PM

    I've been told for the last 40 years that I am borderline diabetic. I've always refused any additional testing as I know my diet is about 25% chocolate. At 70, I still feel fine and assume the additional tests are pushed as something that produces income for the physician.