(DGIwire) – In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated the number of people with diabetes was 415 million. The actual number however, may be as high as 520 million, according to researchers from Monash University with partners in the UK and US. They say that the incidence of global diabetes has been grossly underestimated by at least 25%.
A diagnostic test that measures fasting blood sugar has been the standard for diabetes and pre-diabetes screening. However, this test does not show what a person’s blood sugar levels are throughout the day. A person can often have abnormally high blood sugar levels when in a non-fasting state that this test will miss, leaving many cases undiagnosed.
Diabetes is now one of the largest chronic disease epidemics in human history, accounting for more than 12% of global health expenditures. The paper recommends both a fasting blood glucose test along with another test two hours after a consuming a glucose drink in order to provide more accurate data and diagnosis.
The researchers also recommend a glucose challenge test be given after the two hour fasting test to confirm the actual likelihood a patient has or will develop diabetes.
Another test, HbA1c, is an alternative recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Diabetes Association in lieu of the two-hour test because it is less time consuming and provides an estimate of a person’s average blood sugar levels over time.
Early diagnosis of diabetes is especially important because researchers at the University of Leeds have just completed a study that indicates diabetes increases the risk of dying from the effects of a heart attack.
They followed 700,000 people who had been admitted to the hospital due to a heart attack between January 2003 and June 2013 that included 121,000 who had diabetes. After adjusting for other factors, people with diabetes were somewhere between 39% and 56% more likely to have died following a heart attack than those who did not have diabetes.
“Many long-term diabetics actually die of other causes and complications, including heart attacks, which are exasperated by the condition. Research has conclusively determined that type 2 diabetes can be avoided by proper diet and lifestyle choices. In fact, most cases can be cured with the same regimen of healthy choices. Considering diabetes causes or complicates so many chronic conditions and is a major burden on our healthcare system, proper diet and lifestyle education is critical,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.
This paper shows that there is an adverse effect on survival linked specifically to diabetes rather than other possible conditions people with diabetes may have. It also demonstrates the need to radically reduce the incidence of diabetes. There is no question that effective diabetes management can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other associated chronic conditions.
Griesel adds, “People with diabetes or pre-diabetes need early diagnosis along with the support and education required to effectively eliminate the condition. Proper diet, activity and lifestyle choices make this possible.”