A new test that is currently being developed could help health professionals diagnose diabetes earlier than ever before. The consequences of late diagnosis can include the onset of strokes, heart attacks, and conditions such as retinopathy (damaged retinas contributing to blindness), nephropathy (damaged kidneys), neuropathy (damaged nerves) and atherosclerosis (inflamed arteries). Current diagnosis methods are based on testing blood sugar levels, however researchers have established that other compounds in the blood such as fat, some proteins and vitamin D may also prove indicatory. The researchers are continuing to fine tune this test so that it may potentially be implemented in the health care system within the next 5 years. Similar tests that look into the biomarkers fructosamine and glycated albumin are also being considered in the UK and US, and are currently being used in Japan.
More than 3 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, so the ramifications of this discovery could be hugely significant in health and quality of life in these individuals.
Science Daily, (2014). Potential for new tests in long term diabetes complications. Retrieved 4th September, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114202651.htm
Mail Online, (2014). New test will diagnose type 2 diabetes 'years earlier' by examining compounds in the blood: Early warning could prevent complications including strokes. Retrieved 4th September, 2014, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2742726/New-test-diagnose-diabetes-years-earlier-examining-compounds-blood-Early-warning-prevent-complications-including-strokes.html