Screening for type 2 diabetes and dysglycemia

Epidemiol Rev. 2011;33:63-87. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxq020. Epub 2011 May 30.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and dysglycemia (impaired glucose tolerance and/or impaired fasting glucose) are increasingly contributing to the global burden of diseases. The authors reviewed the published literature to critically evaluate the evidence on screening for both conditions and to identify the gaps in current understanding. Acceptable, relatively simple, and accurate tools can be used to screen for both T2DM and dysglycemia. Lifestyle modification and/or medication (e.g., metformin) are cost-effective in reducing the incidence of T2DM. However, their application is not yet routine practice. It is unclear whether diabetes-prevention strategies, which influence cardiovascular risk favorably, will also prevent diabetic vascular complications. Cardioprotective therapies, which are cost-effective in preventing complications in conventionally diagnosed T2DM, can be used in screen-detected diabetes, but the magnitude of their effects is unknown. Economic modeling suggests that screening for both T2DM and dysglycemia may be cost-effective, although empirical data on tangible benefits in preventing complications or death are lacking. Screening for T2DM is psychologically unharmful, but the specific impact of attributing the label of dysglycemia remains uncertain. Addressing these gaps will inform the development of a screening policy for T2DM and dysglycemia within a holistic diabetes prevention and control framework combining secondary and high-risk primary prevention strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening* / economics
  • Prediabetic State / diagnosis
  • Prediabetic State / economics
  • Prediabetic State / prevention & control
  • Prediabetic State / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Blood Glucose