Detecting type 2 diabetes and prediabetes among asymptomatic adults in the United States: modeling American Diabetes Association versus US Preventive Services Task Force diabetes screening guidelines

Popul Health Metr. 2014 May 7;12:12. doi: 10.1186/1478-7954-12-12. eCollection 2014.


Background: Screening to detect prediabetes and diabetes enables early prevention and intervention. This study describes the number and characteristics of asymptomatic, undiagnosed adults in the United States who could be detected with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes using the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines compared to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines.

Methods: We developed predictive models for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes using polytomous logistic regression from data on risk factors in the 2003-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 19,056). We applied these predictive models to the 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which contains health care use data, to generate probabilities of undiagnosed diabetes and undetected prediabetes for each adult. We summed individual probabilities to estimate the number of adults who would be detected with prediabetes and/or type 2 diabetes if screened under ADA or USPSTF guidelines. We analyzed health care use patterns of people at high risk for diabetes.

Results: In 2010, 59.1 million adults met the USPSTF screening criteria including 24.4 million people with undetected prediabetes and 3.7 million people with undiagnosed diabetes. In comparison, among the 86.3 million people who met the ADA screening criteria, there were 33.9 million with undetected prediabetes and 4.6 million with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. The ADA guidelines detected 38.9% more cases of prediabetes and 24.3% more cases of type 2 diabetes compared to the USPSTF guidelines. Subgroup analysis showed that ADA guidelines would detect 78% more cases of diabetes among the age 54 and younger population, in 40% more blacks, and in more than twice as many Hispanics than USPSTF guidelines. Only 58% of adults meeting ADA guidelines and 70% meeting USPSTF guidelines had ≥ 1 primary care office visit in 2010.

Conclusions: Compared to USPSTF guidelines, ADA guidelines would screen more people and detect more cases of both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, though a substantial percentage of patients with undetected cases had no contact with a primary care provider in 2010. Addressing the problem of large numbers of undetected prediabetes and type 2 diabetes cases will require new strategies for screening.

Keywords: American Diabetes Association; Prediabetes; Screening; Type 2 diabetes; USPSTF.