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Dental visits offer chance to screen some for diabetes, study finds

Opportunities to screen more people for diabetes could be as simple as a visit to the dentist.

A New York University study published Feb. 25 in the American Journal of Public Health found that using gingival crevicular blood for hemoglobin A1c testing produced results nearly identical to those obtained using finger stick blood. Results showed a correlation of .991 between the two blood samples of 408 dental patients, according to an NYU news release. The American Diabetes Association encourages testing HbA1c for diabetes diagnostics and glycemic control monitoring. Dubbed “The Potential for Glycemic Control Monitoring and Screening for Diabetes at Dental Visits Using Oral Blood,” the study adds to previous research examining the feasibility and acceptability to patients and dental providers using oral blood to screen for diabetes during routine dental exams, the news release said.

“In light of findings from the study, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct diabetes screening among at-risk, undiagnosed patients — an important first step in identifying those who need further testing to determine their diabetes status,” Shiela Strauss, PhD, MA, BS, the study’s principal investigator and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing, said in the news release.

Researchers estimate 8.1 million of the 29.1 million Americans living with diabetes are undiagnosed with many who have diabetes also having inadequate glycemic control. Dental visits could be potential opportunities for diabetes screening and monitoring glucose control, researchers said, citing that although many Americans visit their dental providers annually, they might not be seeing primary care providers as frequently. Patients who are at least 45 and older could particularly benefit from this type of screening, the news release said.

“Our study has considerable public health significance because we identify the value and importance of capitalizing on an opportunity at the dental visit (a) to screen at-risk, but as yet undiagnosed patients for diabetes (especially those 45 years or older), and (b) to monitor glycemic control in those already diagnosed so as to enable them to maintain their health to the greatest extent possible,” Strauss said in the news release.

One out of 3 adults has prediabetes, according to the CDC. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, the CDC states, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes in five years.

Type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, can develop at any age, according to the CDC. Although there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, most cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. At least 1 out of 3 people will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes, the CDC stated.

Read the full study at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302357. Visit http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2015/02/26/nyu-study-successfully-screens-for-diabetes-at-dental-visits-using-oral-blood.html for more information.

By | 2015-08-24T13:54:27-04:00 August 24th, 2015|Categories: Nursing news|0 Comments

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Special Topics Editor Deborah Filipek develops and edits content for OnCourse Learning’s Nurse.com blog, which covers news, trends and features relevant to nurses. She has more than 25 years of writing and editing experience, having previously worked for weekly newspapers and ad agencies in the Chicagoland area.

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