Task Force Wants Diabetes Screening & Counseling For Overweight & Obese

Healthy Living

January 11, 2016

Overweight People 40 to 70 Years of Age to be Screened

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s advisory group announced that all Americans between the ages of 40 to 70 should be screened for diabetes. The recommendations went even further by stating the testing should be followed up by extensive intervention and therapy for those who test positive for abnormal blood sugar levels. The new guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on October 26, 2015 which has created a bit of a stir. There are people who feel the government should stay out of our private lives and should not be allowed to be directing our healthcare that it should be left up to the doctor and patient.

However there is growing concern regarding childhood obesity and the growing number of overweight adult Americans. If the obesity rates continue to grow at the rate they are it will continue to put a pressing strain on our healthcare system and ability to care for our aging population.

Why the Guidelines Are Changing

Previous guidelines set out in 2008 differed by recommending doctors test the blood sugar of patients with high blood pressure, which typically goes hand in hand with Diabetes Type 2. The new guidelines were updated largely because the obesity rate of Americans has continued to increase and because the number of people in the U.S. with Diabetes has grown so substantially. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that there are over 86 million people in America age twenty and up who have tested positive for abnormal blood sugar. It is also estimated that approximately ten percent of adult Americans have diabetes. There are also disproportionate numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans who have diabetes, making them at higher risk.

According to Dr. Michael Pignone, chief of general internal medicine at the University of North Carolina, “The good news is that by finding people while they’re still at that abnormal blood sugar range and making lifestyle interventions at that time, we can reduce the burden of diabetes.” The doctor says that many people who do test positive for elevated blood sugar will need extensive counseling and monitoring to help teach them about healthier lifestyles to prevent them from developing diabetes Type 2 and even improve preventing the progression of heart disease.

Studies Show Intervention Needs Counseling to be Successful

There was a study conducted in the UK over a ten year period that concluded that intervention without the benefit of counseling did not reduce the mortality rate, in other words simply screening did not help reduce disease processes. However, a conclusion was reached on studies conducted in China, Sweden, Japan and the United States that with the presence of screening with intensive counseling moderately reduced the progression of people with diabetes and mortality by helping patients to live healthier lifestyles and eat a more balanced diet.

Dr. Pignone said, “Intensive lifestyle interventions, and by that I mean multiple sessions, with a trained educator that focus on improving diet and increasing physical activity were effective in reducing the progression to diabetes, and also showed improvement in cardiovascular disease risk factors.”

Obesity and diabetes has become such a great problem in America it is hoped that the new guidelines will help to stem the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is occurring in America today. A byproduct of the guidelines would also be a reduction of blindness, kidney disease, heart failure, stroke, as well as loss of feet and toes as a result of complications of diabetes and a reduction in the mortality rate.