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New Diabetes Risk Assessment Developed

August 11, 2010

Online method is first that can be used in a multi-ethnic population

A team from the University of Leicester, led by Professor Melanie Davies from the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Professor Kamlesh Khunti from the Department of Health Sciences, has developed an easy way for people to assess their risk of having diabetes.

Working in partnership with Diabetes UK, the largest diabetes charity in the country, and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, they have produced the first diabetes risk assessment that can be used in a multi-ethnic population.

The Diabetes Risk Score uses 7 questions to identify how high a risk someone is of getting diabetes. These are age, ethnicity, sex, family history of diabetes, waist size, body mass index and any history or treatment for high blood pressure. Answering these does not tell someone whether they have diabetes, just what their risk of having it is. Their GP needs to be seen to provide a firm diagnosis.

Professor Davies, Honorary Consultant Physician in Diabetes at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “There are an estimated 2.6m people in England with diabetes with 500,000 of them not diagnosed. The impact of diabetes on individuals and their families can be profound. The costs to the NHS are also significant with diabetes prescriptions alone costing £500m a year. I, and my team, are proud that the Diabetes Risk Score will enable people to quickly and easily find out what their chance of having diabetes is and take action accordingly. The earlier diabetes is diagnosed the earlier effective treatment can start.”

Leicester faces a significant challenge from diabetes with recent evidence indicating that overall 10% of the population has diabetes and this is even higher in the South Asian community. The use of the Diabetes Risk Score will be particularly useful to that community. It also makes this Leicester diabetes research even more relevant to the local community.

The Diabetes Risk Score is already being used in a number of other studies to identify people at high risk of diabetes and encourage them to see their doctor. “

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