Random plasma glucose tests could be used to predict which patients will develop diabetes, according to a study of Veterans Affairs treatment data. Researchers from several VA systems showed that levels of glucose found during standard outpatient medical testing revealed patients’ likelihood of developing diabetes over the next five years, even when glucose levels did not rise to the level of diabetes diagnosis.
The findings could lead to earlier treatment and better outcomes. The research shows that glucose levels that normally would not be seen as indicating diabetes risk can in fact predict the disease’s development. According to the researchers, using plasma glucose levels in blood samples taken during regular doctor visits “could signal the need for further testing, allow preventive intervention in high risk individuals before onset of disease, and lead to earlier identification of diabetes.”