Prediabetes Screening: How & Why

Screening involves the testing of asymptomatic, high-risk individuals to assess whether they meet the criteria for either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Screening recommendations have been made by different groups, including the American Diabetes Association and the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Although these recommendations sometimes advise screening for slightly different groups of individuals, all of them advise the use of one or more blood tests to determine the degree of blood glucose elevation.

Screening for prediabetes and diabetes is more frequently done in health care settings than community settings. The process used to target and test patients may include a team approach, employing various health care professionals such as medical assistants, nurses, physicians, diabetes educators, or others. Electronic health records can alert health care team members about patients who should be targeted for diabetes screening, either during or between visits to the clinic. Health care providers in a variety of practice settings can consider use of standard ordering protocols for glucose testing, which may be approved by physicians up front but carried out by other team members when at-risk patients are identified. In addition, provider teams can look for opportunities to screen for prediabetes while managing a patient’s other conditions. For example, when screening for hyperlipidemia, a fasting glucose may easily be added to a standard fasting lipid test panel.

Last Reviewed October 2015