The American Diabetes Association Applauds Stronger Screening Guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes

Alexandria, Virginia
October 7, 2014

The American Diabetes Association (Association) applauds the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for elevating the draft recommendation for Screening of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Adults, released yesterday. The USPSTF’s draft recommendation will now include multiple risk-factor based type 2 diabetes screening for asymptomatic patients in addition to screening those who have high blood pressure, which was previously the only screening guideline under the existing recommendation last updated in 2008. 

In issuing today’s draft recommendation, the USPSTF has taken into consideration the abundance of evidence demonstrating that risk-factor based screening for type 2 diabetes will identify more individuals with the disease. Today, 8 million of the nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. living with diabetes have not been diagnosed with the disease. The estimated economic cost of undiagnosed diabetes is a staggering $18 billion annually. It is crucial to identify these cases in order for patients to engage in proper diabetes management and prevent costly and dangerous complications, including cardiovascular disease, stroke blindness, amputation and kidney disease.

“The American Diabetes Association is thrilled with the decision of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to strengthen their recommendation and take into consideration the wealth of research pointing to the need for risk-factor based screening in type 2 diabetes,” said Robert Ratner, MD, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer, American Diabetes Association. “Early diagnosis of both type 2 and prediabetes is essential in improving the outcomes for these patients. Undeniable data show the efficacy and cost effectiveness of preventing diabetes. This new draft recommendation is a step in the right direction in the ongoing fight to Stop Diabetes®.”

The American Diabetes Association has long advocated for risk-factor based screening for type 2 diabetes in our annual Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. There are a number of factors associated with type 2 diabetes, including advanced age, being overweight or obese, family history of type 2 diabetes, and being a member of certain minority population that increase a patient’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Using risk-factor based screenings will lead to diagnosing more individuals who are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, but also help to identify those with prediabetes who are at high risk for developing type 2 and once diagnosed, can work to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. 

A 2013 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found screening using the current USPSTF recommendations results in missing more than half of those who have undiagnosed diabetes. The decision to broaden the screening recommendation is an essential step to improving diabetes health outcomes, as these recommendations offer guidance to health care providers on providing appropriate preventive care. Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act, preventive services that receive A or B ratings are covered through private insurance without cost-sharing. This means individuals at risk will have greater access to diabetes screening if the draft recommendation stands. As the USPSTF continues the process of developing the final recommendation, the Association applauds the efforts to improve screening guidelines and urges the USPSTF to uphold the draft recommendation.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)