Worldwide, more than 100 million people have diabetes. It is predicted that this number will double over the next 10 years. Evidence suggests that between one-third and one-half of cases are undiagnosed, and that patients may have preclinical disease for as long as 12 years. It is during these years that the complications of diabetes begin. Factors associated with increased risk of diabetes include: impaired glucose tolerance, increasing age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of microvascular disease, hypertension, ethnicpredisposition toward the disease, previous gestational diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
There are multiple screening methods for diabetes. These include a fasting glucose level, a random glucose level, a 2-hour postprandial glucose level, and a hemoglobin A-1-C. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a glucose tolerance test. Recognizing and treating diabetes early will have a significant impact on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and the complications of diabetes across the population.