The frequency with which you should be checked for diabetes depends upon your degree of risk, your age, and lifestyle factors. Even if you have a strong family history of type 1 diabetes, your risk of developing it is still only about 5% and is much lower after the age of 35.
Furthermore, type 1 diabetes usually presents with obvious symptoms, such as those described in Question 21, and is unlikely to be missed. Since there is presently little that can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes, screening is usually not performed. If you have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes, the frequency with which you should be screened also depends on age and lifestyle factors. If you are young (younger than 30), physically active, and lean, then you are not at high risk and regular screening is not necessary. As you get older, especially if you get more sedentary and gain weight, as most of us do, then regular screening is advisable. Since screening for diabetes with a fasting or random blood glucose measurement is rapid and inexpensive, there is no reason not to perform it at least annually in individuals at high risk and every 2 to 3 years in those at lesser, but still significant, risk. In general, all pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Some authorities exclude younger (younger than 25 years old) women, who are otherwise at low risk, from the need for screening.
Was this article helpful?