Undiagnosed Diabetes

Undiagnosed Diabetes

  • Diabetes is very easy to predict (see Indian Diabetes Risk Score) as well as diagnose with a simple blood test even from a finger stick. However, one-third to one-half of people with diabetes are undiagnosed worldwide.
  • The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is 8% and that of undiagnosed is 3% of the population. The prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes varies from 2% in women to as high as 4% in Mexican women and black men in the US.1-4
  • The average person with diabetes does not typically get diagnosed for four to seven years. Yet, undiagnosed individuals with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, blindness, and other complications. These problems may progress more rapidly in individuals not receiving appropriate medications or pursuing lifestyle changes.
  • Between 50% and 70% of people in China and between 30% and 80% of people in India are not diagnosed and are left untreated.5  This appears to be due to the combination of poor public awareness and limited opportunities for diagnosis.2-4
  • Several Indian experts have devised screening systems, using non-biochemical simple measures for identifying individuals with diabetes.6, 7


1. American Heart Association. Heart and Stroke Statistical Update2011.

2. Mohan V, Sandeep S, Deepa R, Shah B, Varghese C. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes: Indian scenario. Indian J Med Res. Mar 2007;125(3):217-230.

3. Ramachandran A, Sathyamurthy I, Snehalatha C, et al. Risk variables for coronary artery disease in Asian Indians. Am J Cardiol. 2001;87(3):267-271.

4.  Ajay VS, Prabhakaran D, Jeemon P, et al. Prevalence and determinants of diabetes mellitus in the Indian industrial population. Diabet Med. Oct 2008;25(10):1187-1194.

5. Narayan KM, Chan J, Mohan V. Early Identification of Type 2 Diabetes: Policy should be aligned with health systems strengthening. Diabetes Care. Jan 2011;34(1):244-246.

6. Mohan V, Deepa R, Deepa M, Somannavar S, Datta M. A simplified Indian Diabetes Risk Score for screening for undiagnosed diabetic subjects. J Assoc Physicians India. Sep 2005;53:759-763.

7. Ramachandran A, Snehalatha C, Vijay V, Wareham NJ, Colagiuri S. Derivation and validation of diabetes risk score for urban Asian Indians. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. Oct 2005;70(1):63-70.

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