Diabetes Forecast

Screen Time: Simulation Shows Benefits of Screening and Early Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

What to Know

The benefits of screening to catch type 2 diabetes early have been a subject of debate for some time. No study has been done that can say for sure that people who are treated in the disease’s early stages do better than those who are diagnosed later. However, a recent European diabetes study collected data that researchers have used in an attempt to answer that question.

The Study

Using a computer simulation of diabetes, called the Michigan Model, researchers plugged in data from the diabetes study known as ADDITION-Europe. This allowed them to show that the simulation’s predictions matched the actual results of the early intensive diabetes treatment found in the ADDITION- Europe study. They then ran three simulated scenarios: screening followed by early routine treatment, no screening with a 3-year delay in routine treatment, and no screening with a 6-year delay in routine treatment of diabetes and heart disease risk factors.

The Results

The simulation predicted that people who are diagnosed through screening and receive even routine (not just intensive) early treatment will likely have lower risks of heart disease events or death than those who have a 3- or 6-year delay in getting routine treatment. In the simulation, those screened and treated early had a 29% lower risk than those with a 3-year delay and a 38% lower risk than those with a 6-year delay in diagnosis and treatment.


Screening and early routine treatment offer major health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. Catching and treating type 2 diabetes early, in fact, may be more important than the degree of treatment (intensive versus routine). Keep in mind that computer simulations like the one used here are never 100 percent accurate. Also, the results of this study might not apply to people already being treated for high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, or other risk factors.

Early detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality: a simulation of the results of the Anglo-Danish-Dutch Study of Intensive Treatment in People With Screen-Detected Diabetes in Primary Care (ADDITION-Europe), by Herman and colleagues. Diabetes Care 2015;38:1449–1455 http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc14-2459

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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