Population screening for diabetes mellitus. Professional Advisory Committee of the British Diabetic Association

Diabet Med. 1993 Oct;10(8):777-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.1993.tb00164.x.


The role and value of screening for diabetes mellitus is still unclear. If asymptomatic subjects are to be screened, then a fasting plasma glucose > 6.6 mmol l-1 or a venous plasma glucose 2 h after a 75 g oral glucose load > 8.0 mmol l-1 or the presence of any glucose in a urine sample passed 2 h after a main meal should be regarded as a positive result. A fasting plasma glucose in the range 5.5-6.6 mmol l-1 is an equivocal result which should lead to retesting in 6-12 months if there is any risk factor for diabetes (obesity, family history of diabetes, Asian/African racial origin). Other screening tests or combinations of tests are not recommended. Screening should be restricted to subjects between 40 and 75 years and should be undertaken only every 5 years (3 years if a risk factor for diabetes is present), ideally in parallel with other health screening test; subjects with a positive result should have further investigations as necessary to reach a diagnosis in line with WHO criteria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Fasting
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycosuria
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose