How Often Should I Screen For Diabetes?

Published on
By : dLife Editors

Screening for early diagnosis is important if you have diabetes. You stand a better chance of decreasing the risk of developing diabetes complications when the disease is diagnosed early.

It will also help give you the chance to treat it appropriately, and thus help you live stay healthy. Therefore, screening for diabetes is essential, but how often is the screening recommended and who should be screened for diabetes?

Screening For Diabetes

Since the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in most time, develop suddenly and the disease diagnosed soon after the symptoms manifest, most diabetes screening recommendations thus focus more on type 2 diabetes.

Individuals with type 2 diabetes may be living with the disease for as long as three to four years with diagnosing it, therefore screening has remained a great tool for catching it.

How Frequently Should Screening Be Done?

According to the American Diabetes Association, it is recommended that adults of 45 years and above go for type 2 diabetes screening every year. However, some factors may require that you go for this screening more frequently, such as when you are overweight. Below are also some risk factors that may warrant you have your screening earlier or more frequently:

  • If you are living a sedentary lifestyle
  • If you have a family history of diabetes
  • If you have your race to be from African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American or Pacific Islander
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of blood glucose problems
  • History of cholesterol problem
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • History if vascular disease
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS)

What About Children?

Although type 2 diabetes is seen mostly in adults, the persistent increase of obesity in children have predisposed them to type 2 diabetes.

Because of this, the American Diabetes Association and other professional health institutions are of the opinion that overweight children should be screened regularly, particularly those who have two or more risk factors of type 2 diabetes and also exhibit symptoms of insulin resistance.

 Diabetes Screening Tests

Generally, screening for diabetes could be in two simple tests which include:

#1: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

This test involves testing the blood glucose levels only after a very sugary solution, containing about 75g of glucose is consumed. It is used in individuals that show symptoms of diabetes even though their high blood sugar levels have not been detected by other diabetes screening tests like the fasting plasma glucose tests. An individual can be said to have diabetes after 200 mg/dL is detected after using this test twice on separate days.

#2: The Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

This entails measuring the glucose level of the body after a period of fasting. This test is administered after an individual stay without food for about 8 hours. It is used to screen individuals who are at risk of type 2 diabetes; people who are obese, people of African or Asian origin or anyone with a family history of diabetes.

After double measurement of glucose levels in the blood, individuals that have consistent results that are equal to or greater than to 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl) will be diagnosed to have diabetes.

Even though these tests are very common, inexpensive and very convenient for both the health worker and the individual, there is still need to consult your doctor, who as a professional will know the suitable screening test to recommend.

This is very important for early detection and proper diagnosis of diabetes for effective management and prevention of complications that could arise due to this metabolic disorder.


1. American Diabetes Association. (2017). Type 2 Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from:

2. Diabetes Care. (2002 Jan25). Screening for Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. 25(suppl 1): s21-s24. Retrieved from

3. Mayo C. (2018, March 04). Diabetes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from

4. Diabetes Care (2015). Early Detection and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Reduce Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality: A Simulation of the Results of the Anglo-Danish-Dutch Study of Intensive Treatment in People With Screen-Detected Diabetes in Primary Care (ADDITION-Europe). American Diabetes Association; Diabetes Care. Retrieved from

5. Susan Renzo, (2014, Nov 04).  Difference Between Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. Battle Diabetes. Retrieved from