All A&E patients 'should be screened for type 2 diabetes'

A&E patients ‘should be screened for type 2 diabetes’ as research claims having condition in your 30s can shave FOURTEEN years off your life

  • NHS researchers trialed ‘opportunistic’ blood tests on 1,388 patients in A&E
  • READ MORE: A cup of tea a day will keep the diabetes away, research suggests

Screening A&E patients for diabetes could detect thousands of new cases, a study suggests.

More than 4.3million Brits have the condition. Charities say another 850,000 are yet to be diagnosed.

NHS researchers who trialed ‘opportunistic’ blood tests on 1,388 patients in casualty found 120 had type 2 — known as the silent killer.

None of the participants had been given a diabetes diagnosis before the study took place.

Diabetes is now a ‘rapidly escalating crisis’ in the UK, as the number of people with the condition is thought to have exceeded five million for the first time

Another 420 patients, or 30 per cent, had pre-diabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not elevated enough to be diagnosed as type 2.

The study was presented at a medical conference in Germany. 

It took place at the A&E department at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust in Ashton-under-Lyne.

All the patients were screened for type 2 diabetes using the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test, which gives an indication of average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.

Pre-diabetes was defined as having a score between 39-47 mmol/mol and diabetes as 48 mmol/mol or higher.

Professor Edward Jude, who worked on the study, said: ‘Early diagnosis is the best way to avoid the devastating complications of type 2 diabetes, and offers the best chance of living a long and healthy life.

‘Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be absent and can be tricky to spot in the early stages.

‘The condition can go undetected for up to ten years, which can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease, nerve damage and retinopathy.’

The team said that, based on the results, tens of thousands of cases of pre-diabetes and diabetes could be diagnosed in A&E departments across the country every year.

Professor Jude said: ‘Opportunistic HbA1c-based screening in A&E departments, particularly those in high-risk and hard-to-reach groups, could make an important contribution to identifying undiagnosed individuals who will benefit from early treatment and lifestyle changes and so reduce their risks of long-term complications.’

Meanwhile, a separate team of experts today warned having type 2 diabetes in your 30s can shave 14 years off your life. 

Cambridge and Glasgow University researchers said even being diagnosed in your 50s could rob you of six years.  

Type 2 diabetes increases an individual’s risk of a range of complications, including heart attack and stroke, kidney problems and cancer.

Estimates on life expectancy were based on data comprising 1.5million people. 

Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio, of Cambridge, said: ‘Type 2 diabetes used to be seen as a disease that affected older adults.

‘But we’re increasingly seeing people diagnosed earlier in life. 

‘As we’ve shown, this means they are at risk of a much shorter life expectancy than they would otherwise have.’

The study was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.


Diabetes is a serious life-long condition that occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly.

Patients have to regular monitor their glucose levels to prevent them from developing any potentially fatal complications.

Type 1 diabetes patients are often recommended to test their blood sugar at least four times a day. For type 2 patients, doctors advise to test twice a day.

Blood glucose levels should be between the ranges of 3.5–5.5mmol/L before meals and less than 8mmol/L, two hours after meals.

Diabetes patients have to regular monitor their glucose levels to prevent them from developing any potentially fatal complications

Hypoglycemia (when blood sugar drops below 4 mmol/L) can occasionally lead to patients falling into comas in severe cases.

However, it most often can be treated through eating or drinking 15-20g of fast acting carbohydrate, such 200ml of Lucozade Energy Original.

Sufferers can tell they are experiencing a hypo when they suddenly feel tired, have difficulty concentrating or feel dizzy.

Type 1 diabetes patients are more likely to experience a hypo, because of the medications they take, including insulin.

Hyperglycemia (when blood sugar is above 11.0 mmol/L two hours after a meal) can also have life-threatening complications.

It happens when the body either has too little insulin, seen in type 1, or it can’t use its supply properly, most often in type 2.

In the short-term, it can lead to conditions including ketoacidosis – which causes ketones to be released into the body. 

If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to long-term complications, such as impotence and amputations of limbs.

Regular exercise can help to lower blood sugar levels over time, and following a healthy diet and proper meal planning can also avoid dangerous spikes.  

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