Glucose challenge test for diabetes screening

Glucose challenge test commonly used to help identify women with diabetes during pregnancy may be an accurate, convenient and inexpensive way to screen the general population for unrecognized diabetes and prediabetes.

The facts are revealed by Emory University researchers, and the results of the study, “Glucose challenge test screening for prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes” will be published online and in print in the journal Diabetologia.

“Widespread use of the glucose challenge test (GCT) to screen Americans for prediabetes and diabetes could provide a major opportunity to improve the health of more than 40 million people,” said lead study author Lawrence S. Phillips, MD, Emory University School of Medicine Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology.

The study screened 1,573 volunteer participants who had never been diagnosed with diabetes. At a first visit, at different times of the day and without restriction of meals, participants were given a 50-gram glucose drink. Glucose was measured both before the drink (random glucose) and an hour after the drink (GCT glucose).

At a follow-up visit held in the morning after an overnight fast, participants had measurement of hemoglobin A1c (a standard test used to monitor diabetes), and a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The OGTT is the “gold standard” for diagnosing diabetes and prediabetes.

After screening, researchers found that 4.6 percent of the participants had previously unrecognized diabetes, and 18.7 percent had prediabetes.

The GCT was the most accurate screening test for these problems, significantly better than the random glucose or A1c tests. Since the good performance of the GCT was unaffected by the time of day, or times after meals, the GCT could be performed during a routine office visit. If a patient’s GCT glucose level is low, he/she wouldn’t need to be screened again for another two or three years, but if the GCT glucose level is high, patients would need a confirmatory oral glucose tolerance test.

Source: Emory University, USA



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