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Study of GP records reveals thousands of undiagnosed diabetes cases

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Electronic GP records could be used to identify thousands of cases of undiagnosed diabetes, according to a study.

Researchers surveyed more than 3.6 million electronic patient records all over the UK looking for biochemical evidence of undiagnosed diabetes recorded in blood glucose measurements.

They found 3,758 patients whose last blood glucose level was indicative of undiagnosed diabetes and 32,785 with borderline glucose levels, placing them at risk and requiring further assessment.

Lead author Dr Tim Holt, from Warwick University’s Warwick Medical School, said: ‘The search was originally piloted in my own practice in Warwickshire and six individuals were found, most of whom were diagnosed with diabetes on further testing.

‘If the same survey was extended to all UK GP surgeries we estimate that 60,000 people would be identified with evidence of undiagnosed diabetes. In addition, more than half a million people nationally would require further tests to rule out diabetes.’

British Journal of General Practice (2008) 58: 1-5

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