Getting Diagnosed for Diabetes May Start in the Dentist’s Chair
Dr. Shiela Strauss of NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry says that the diabetes epidemic could be slowed down by having dentists screen for the disease. There are approximately 20 million people that currently visit a dentist but do no have a primary care provider. Prior research has already indicated that there is a link between diabetes and gum disease.
If dentists test for diabetes, they can do it by taking a blood sample from the gums. A prior study published to the American Journal of Public Health indicated that taking a blood test from the gums in order to test for hemoglobin A1c was just as effective as a blood test using blood taken from the fingers.
Roughly nine out of ten people who have pre-diabetes don’t know that they have the condition. In addition, a test of 400 pateints using this method indicated that the majority of the people that were determined to be pre-diabetic where unaware that they had the condition.
The health care system is becoming less fragmented and the researchers hope that diabetes testing by dentists becomes a standard practice. If pre-diabetes is diagnosed before it can develop into diabetes, the impacts to the body can be reversed by using a diet and exercise regime.
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