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GPs should test all over 40s for diabetes, NICE says

Lifestyle support should be offered to people with a fasting glucose 5.5mmol/l and above

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 15 September 2017

More people at risk of type 2 diabetes should be tested by GPs and pharmacists, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says in updated guidance on preventing type 2 diabetes.

All adults with conditions that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, stroke or high blood pressure, should be tested, along with anyone aged over 40. However, South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or Black African descent, and other black and minority ethnic groups at high risk of type 2 diabetes should get tested from the age of 25.

Once assessed, these people should be offered advice to help them delay or prevent the condition, the guidance says, and people at the 1.7 million at people highest risk of type 2 diabetes should be offered a place on an intensive lifestyle change programme, such as the ‘Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’ developed by NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) which aims to reduce the prevalence of diabetes by helping people to change their diet and increase their physical activity.

NICE says it is cost effective to offer lifestyle support to people with a fasting glucose between 5.5–6.9 mmol/l, but that prioritisation could be given to people with a higher reading (6.5-6.9mmol/l) due to their increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: “We know that helping someone to make simple changes to their diet and exercise levels can significantly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And that this approach is a cost-effective way of managing an illness that currently costs the NHS around £8.8 billion a year.

“We need to make sure that the people most at risk have access to the care they need. This is why this updated guidance from NICE is so important, it will help NHS England and Public Health England to prioritise when necessary.”

There are approximately 3.8 million people with diabetes in the UK, of which 90% have type 2.

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