GP's databases could identify tens of thousands with undiagnosed diabetes in UK

February 25, 2008

Researchers who examined blood test records in a survey of over 3.6 million patient records held by UK GP surgeries have found thousands of cases of probable undiagnosed diabetes. This could help identify tens of thousands of people with undiagnosed diabetes in UK.

The research is published in the March issue of the British Journal of General Practice and was led by Dr Tim Holt of the University of Warwick with colleagues from Nottingham University, Egton Medical Information Systems (EMIS) in Leeds, and Imperial College in London. The article is entitled "Identifying undiagnosed diabetes: cross-sectional survey of 3.6 million patients' electronic records." The full list of the researchers is detailed below.

The researchers surveyed 3,630,296 electronic patient records in 480 GP surgeries all over the UK which contribute anonymised electronic health record data to the QRESEARCH database in Nottingham for research purposes.

The research team looked for biochemical evidence of undiagnosed diabetes recorded in blood glucose measurements. They first eliminated known patients with diabetes, and cases where raised blood glucose was found but diabetes had already been ruled out as a cause by further tests. They found that this still left 3,758 patients whose last blood glucose level was indicative of undiagnosed diabetes, and 32,785 patients whose last level was at best borderline leaving many of them at significant risk of diabetes and requiring further assessment.

Lead author Dr Tim Holt, from the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School, said: "The search was originally piloted in my own practice in Warwickshire, and six individuals were found, most of whom were diagnosed with diabetes on further testing. The majority of practices sampled in the research project included such patients. If the same survey was extended to all UK GP surgeries we estimate that 60,000 people would be identified with evidence of undiagnosed diabetes. In addition, over half a million people nationally would require further tests to rule out diabetes. The study demonstrates the power of information technology to assist practice teams in the early detection of diabetes."

The researchers were pleased to find how commonly blood glucose test results were recorded- one third of people over 40 years without diabetes have a blood glucose measurement in the past two years in their medical record. Raised or borderline blood glucose levels may not be followed up for a number of reasons that will be the subject of further research. In people without symptoms of diabetes, other more pressing issues may take priority over a borderline test, or the patient may not respond to an invitation for follow up.

It is known that diabetes often goes undiagnosed for years, and there is a large 'missing population' of people with diabetes in the UK. Computer searches may be an effective means of identifying some of this population. As a result of this research software has been installed into the majority of UK practices to assist practice staff in identifying possible cases during routine care. This involves screen alert messages and regularly updated lists. The researchers call on all GPs to use the software to improve the early detection of diabetes in the UK.

On searching his own GP practice records Dr Holt found 6 patients who required further follow up. One of those patients, Mr Peter Alexander, a Business Sales Manager from Warwickshire said "I wish that this system had been introduced nationwide much earlier. For everyone it is important to have their health checked regularly, for the good of the country and using this software a lot of people with undiagnosed diabetes may be identified immediately."
-end-


University of Warwick

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.