Type 2 Diabetes: Screening for Adults

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Topic Overview

Talk with your doctor about what is putting you at risk for type 2 diabetes and how often you need to be tested.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force ( USPSTF ) recommends testing for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight or obese and are ages 40 to 70. This testing should be part of a heart attack and stroke risk screening. footnote 1

If you are age 45 or older, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you get tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years. footnote 2

The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for prediabetes—which may lead to type 2 diabetes—if you: footnote 2

  • Are overweight and are age 45 or older. Get checked for prediabetes during your next routine office visit.
  • Are at a healthy weight and are age 45 or older. During a routine office visit, ask your doctor if testing is appropriate.
  • Are younger than 45 and overweight—your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or greater (in Asian Americans, a BMI 23 or greater)—and you have one or more other things that put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. These include:
    • High blood pressure , 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher, which means the top number is 140 or higher or the bottom number is 90 or higher, or both. Screening may also be recommended if you take medicine to control your blood pressure, even if it's lower than 140/90 now.
    • Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or high triglyceride or both.
    • A family history of type 2 diabetes. People who have a parent, brother, or sister with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes have a greater risk of getting the disease than adults who do not have a family history of the disease.
    • A history of gestational diabetes or having a baby weighing more than 9 lb (4 kg). Women who have had gestational diabetes or who have had a large baby are at greater-than-average risk for getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
    • Risk due to race or ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at greater risk than whites for getting type 2 diabetes.
    • A history of heart disease .
    • A history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .
    • A history of higher-than-normal blood sugar.
  • Are overweight and get little or no exercise and want to help reduce your risk for getting type 2 diabetes.



  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2015). Screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/screening-for-abnormal-blood-glucose-and-type-2-diabetes. Accessed November 11, 2015.
  2. American Diabetes Association (2016). Standards of medical care in diabetes–2016. Diabetes Care, 39(Suppl 1): S1–S112.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology

Current as ofFebruary 19, 2016