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Opticians could spot diabetes with blood check

Opticians could spot diabetes with blood check Finger prick test for those with risk factors

Opticians could help spot diabetes by offering blood sugar checks alongside eye tests, experts said.

A test involving a finger prick could identify those suffering from type 2 diabetes, diagnosing those who do not visit their GP regularly.

In a pilot program in northern England, the tests identified one person out of 100 tested.

There are 2.5 million type 2 diabetes sufferers in the UK, with a further 850,000 thought to be undiagnosed.

The study, conducted by researchers from Durham University, asked five optometrists to test the blood of any customer with an increased body mass index, or aged over 40.

Of the 1,000 customers who agreed to be tested, one third were found to have unusually high blood sugar levels, and were advised to visit their doctor for additional tests.

Ultimately, nine of these were diagnosed with pre-diabetes and seven with diabetes.

Study leader Dr Jenny Howse said the screening test is less invasive and time consuming than fasting blood glucose and oral glucose tolerance tests.

However, charity Diabetes UK said that finger prick tests are not sufficiently accurate, as their results vary according to the time of day they are administered.

A negative reading may falsely reassure the person their glucose levels are normal.

Likewise, a positive reading should be dealt with by a trained health care professional.

This article was published on Wed 31 August 2011



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