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Skin infection link to diabetes risk

New research suggests skin infections and weight loss can help GPs identify patients at risk of diabetes.

Researchers from the University of Bristol found that these markers, as well as thirst and raised fasting and random glucose levels, were independently associated with diabetes.

The five features were identified in a retrospective analysis of medical records of patients from the two years before diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.The researchers concluded that GPs should be on the alert for patients with these symptoms who are in other risk categories for diabetes, as 'earlier diagnosis of diabetes may be possible by increasing awareness among clinicians of the risk of diabetes in patients with weight loss and skin infections'.

They also urged GPs to ensure borderline abnormal glucose readings were followed up, as the research also found a quarter of patients with raised blood glucose readings were not followed up in the two years before a diagnosis was made.

Dr Jessica Watson, a researcher in the University of Bristol's department of primary care, said: 'This research may alert GPs to the risk of diabetes and make sure borderline patients are followed up. Weight loss would normally be indicative of cancer and so GPs would not test for diabetes.'

The study, presented at the Society for Academic Primary Care conference earlier this month, examined the records of 105 people with newly diagnosed diabetes in comparison to 105 matched controls.

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