Patterns of Diabetes Screening and Prediabetes Treatment during Office Visits in the US

Kayce M Shealy, Jun Wu, Jessica Waites, Nancy A Taylor, G Blair Sarbacker
Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine: JABFM 2019, 32 (2): 209-217

INTRODUCTION: The American Diabetes Association recommends annual screenings for prediabetes if the patient meets the suggested requirements. The overall prevalence of prediabetes has decreased from an estimated 86 million adults in 2012 to 84.1 million adults in 2015 in the United States. Along with lifestyle modifications, the use of metformin as a treatment option or in combination has shown a decrease in weight and health care costs. This study was designed to review the prevalence of screening and treatment of prediabetes in the United States by using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, as well as identify any factors associated with screenings and treatment.

METHODS: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey was used to examine a study sample of office visits between 2012 and 2015, reviewing the prevalence of screenings and lab services ordered or provided at each patient visit. Inclusion criteria consisted of the recommendations given by the American Diabetes Association including any patient ≥45 years or adult patient <45 years with a body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2 and an additional risk factor. Patients with a previous diagnosis of diabetes were excluded from the sample.

RESULTS: A total of 105,721 office visits (2012 to 2015) were included in the analysis. The diabetes screening prevalence increased from 10% in 2012 to 13.4% in 2015. Metformin (n = 140, 76.1%) was the most common antidiabetic medication prescribed to treat prediabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of diabetes screening during office visits remained lower than 15% between 2012 and 2015 in the United States. Physicians primarily prescribe lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet and exercise, with metformin being used in some cases for the prevention of diabetes.

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