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The long wait for a diabetes diagnosis

On average, patients live with type 2 diabetes for more than two years before being diagnosed, according to new research presented during the Diabetes UK Professional Conference. Almost a quarter of patients remain undiagnosed five years after developing type 2 diabetes. 

Researchers examined 201,465 people in the UK Biobank study. Of these, 2,022 (1 per cent) had undiagnosed diabetes. The median time to diagnosis for those with type 2 diabetes was 2.3 years, with 23 per cent remaining undiagnosed after five years.

Several features predicted more rapid diagnosis, including male sex (hazard ratio [HR] 1.15), higher baseline HbA1c (HR 1.02 per mmol/mol) and higher baseline BMI (HR 1.02 per kg/m2). 

“This research provides clear evidence of delays in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes,” says Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK. “Type 2 diabetes can sometimes go undetected for up to 10 years, which can lead to serious complications.

“We urge anyone concerned about type 2 diabetes to use Diabetes UK’s free online Know Your Risk tool. It could be the vital first step towards getting a diagnosis and getting the right care to stay healthy.”

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