Richelle J. Koopman, assistant professor of family and community medicine in the MU School of Medicine has created a clinical tool to identify those at highest risk for having undetected hyperglycemia, impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and undiagnosed diabetes.
If these conditions are identified early in young patients it can minimize progression to diabetes, morbidity and mortality.
"Diabetic risk factors are not equal and assessing a combination of risk factors can be confusing," said Richelle J. Koopman, assistant professor of family and community medicine in the MU School of Medicine.
"A tool that weighs the relative contributions of multiple risk factors and creates an overall risk score will help clinicians decide which patients to screen for diabetes.
"The tool we have developed is easy to use and the screening can be done with pencil and paper. Patients can do it at a health fair or a physician's office," she added.
The Tool to Assess Likelihood of Fasting Glucose Impairment (TAG-IT) is designed to use factors that are self-reported or easily measured. The six factors include: age, sex, BMI, family history resting heart rate and measured high blood pressure.
"There has been increasing evidence that prediabetic states are associated with diseases and other complications, and strategies that prevent diabetes in those with prediabetes are effective," Koopman said.
"The TAG-IT tool will help physicians assess patients' risk levels. Hopefully, knowing their TAG-IT scores will encourage high-risk patients to use preventative strategies and make positive changes in their behaviors.
"The tool has potential as a Web-based screening tool that could improve awareness and encourage compliance with lifestyle changes recommended by physicians," she added.
The study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.