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Primary care researchers develop new diabetes risk tool



By Lilian Anekwe

Primary care researchers have developed the first tool to estimate type 2 diabetes risk that can be used in a multi-ethnic population.

The Diabetes Risk Score can be used to identify an individual’s risk of having type 2 diabetes and ten-year risk of developing the condition.

The tool, which is available on the Diabetes UK website and has already been used by more than 30,000 patients, uses seven questions to evaluate diabetes risk – age, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, waist circumference, BMI and treatment for hypertension.

Researchers from the University of Leicester derived the risk assessment score by given 6,000 patients aged 40-75 an oral glucose tolerance test, then developing regression models to predict impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes using data from anthropometric measurements and self-reported questionnaires.

The model has been validated in a separate population of 3,000 patients. Scores ranged from 0 to 47. A cut off point of 16 had a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 45%. The development of the model was published in the August issues of the journal Diabetic Medicine.

Lead researcher Professor Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes at the University of Leicester and a GP in the city, said the score is simple and non-invasive.

‘There is undoubted evidence that diabetes can be prevented through identification of high-risk individuals and using lifestyle interventions,’ he said. ‘The recent paradigm shift towards chronic disease prevention highlights the need to produce tools fit for purpose to cover a range of settings and populations.’

‘A risk assessment score developed for use by lay persons in an ethnically diverse population such as the UK provides a simple, non-invasive and inexpensive way of screening that targets those in need of further testing and/or interventions.’

Diabetic Medicine, 27, 887-895.

Waist circumference is a predictor of type 2 diabetes