Preventive task force issues new diabetes recommendation

Preventive task force issues new diabetes recommendation

A new draft recommendation on diabetes screenings posted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) could change the way health care professionals tackle the debilitating disease going forward.

"Optometrists should ask all of their patients with any risk factors...if they have been screened for diabetes and prediabetes"

Posted on Oct. 6, the USPSTF recommendation calls for providers to screen adults 45 years of age and older—and those at increased risk for type 2 diabetes—with a blood glucose test to detect diabetes or prediabetes earlier in an effort to mitigate the disease that already affects approximately 8.3 percent of American adults.

The USPSTF issued the recommendation a grade B rating, indicating that the practice would provide a benefit to public health based on the supporting evidence. The draft and evidence is available for public comment and review through Nov. 3.

Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive services such as screenings that receive an A or B rating from the USPSTF are covered through all insurance plans at no-cost.

Implementation of the screening guideline could help identify an estimated 86 million adults at risk for diabetes and another 8 million adults with undiagnosed diabetes, according to the Diabetes Advocacy AllianceTM (DAA).

The AOA, through its work with the DAA, played a key role in helping make this happen, and as a result, more Americans will know if they are diabetic or prediabetic and will be told to have regular eye exams from their eye doctor to monitor for diabetic retinopathy.

Access diabetes resources for AOA members
The recommendations are important for all health care providers, but especially for optometrists, because chronological age above 45 years is a recognized risk factor of diabetes and a common age group seen for eye care services, says A. Paul Chous, O.D., AOA representative to the National Diabetes Education Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Optometrists should ask all of their patients with any risk factors—based on age, family history, abdominal obesity, hypertension and high-risk ethnicity—if they have been screened for diabetes and prediabetes by blood glucose testing within the last three years—or within one year in the presence of a greater than one risk factor—and, if not, recommend such screening," Dr. Chous says.

Doctors can build upon the new USPSTF recommendation with the clinical resources and digital diabetes toolkit available to AOA members, including:

Dr. Chous also recommends doctors click here to access an optometry-friendly screening resource from the NIH that will help highlight patient risk.

October 16, 2014

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