News release: About 345,000 Minnesotans with high blood pressure lack recommended diabetes test, study finds

News Release
November 26, 2014

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About 345,000 Minnesotans with high blood pressure lack recommended diabetes test, study finds

A Minnesota Department of Health analysis found 1 in 3 adults with high blood pressure reported they did not receive a diabetes test during the past three years.

This is the first time MDH studied whether the approximately 1.1 million adults with high blood pressure in Minnesota were also screened for diabetes. MDH researchers analyzed 2011 data from the Minnesota Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

That analysis found that 345,000 Minnesotans, or nearly one in three adult Minnesotans with high blood pressure, reported they were not tested for diabetes in the last three years despite a national recommendation for testing.

Diabetes and prediabetes prevalence are increasing. Both conditions negatively affect cardiovascular health. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and prediabetes can benefit people with hypertension by preventing cardiovascular complications. Of Minnesota adults with self-reported hypertension , 19.6 percent had a diagnosis of diabetes and 10.7 percent had a diagnosis of prediabetes.

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) currently recommends testing blood glucose (sugar) levels among patients with high blood pressure. This recommendation is based on research showing a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, if people who are diagnosed with diabetes receive effective treatment.

“We need health care providers to be aware of the need to screen people with hypertension for diabetes,” said Renee Kidney, Ph.D, MDH epidemiologist and lead author on the analysis. “And, very importantly, we need people with hypertension to talk to their providers and ask for the screening.”

There were adults from all age groups, gender, and weight categories who reported not having a diabetes screen. But the study found that adults with diagnosed hypertension and one or more of the following characteristics were less likely to be tested:

  • 18-44 years old.
  • Normal weight or overweight, rather than obese.
  • Less than a college education.
  • Not taking a medication for high blood pressure.
  • No check-up in the past two years.

MDH wants to raise awareness about the recommendation for all adults with hypertension to have a blood glucose test. MDH also encourages patients to talk their doctor or other provider about receiving a diabetes test. The study indicates it is especially important for younger adults and those adults at a healthy weight to talk to their providers about diabetes testing. Preventive check-ups are a good time to ask a provider about diabetes testing.

Full text available online at November 26 at 11 a.m. CST.

Full title:
Blood Glucose Screening Rates Among Minnesota Adults With Hypertension, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2011.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications