Type 2 diabetes is among the world’s deadliest conditions. Individuals with diabetes have a high risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke (cardiovascular disease). They also have a reduced life expectancy of up to ten years. Many people with the condition remain undiagnosed. When they do present at their doctor, they often show signs of diabetic complications. There is consequently a strong argument for screening for diabetes and treating the condition early. Some countries have introduced national screening programmes for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, the costs and benefits of this public health approach are unknown.
Using a number of Danish cohorts and national registry data, I will focus on answering key outstanding questions in the field of screening and early treatment for type 2 diabetes. Does screening for diabetes reduce future risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke? How intensively should we treat people found to have diabetes following screening? How should we treat people we find at high cardiovascular risk but without diabetes following screening?
Answers to these questions can be used to inform health care decision makers about key uncertainties regarding screening programmes for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dr Rebecca Simmons trained in epidemiology at the University of Oxford, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the University of Cambridge. Her research focusses on different ways to tackle the burgeoning epidemic of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She has over 90 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has won more than £5M in research funding. Rebecca is a passionate advocate for the power of public health and education to transform lives. She also regularly takes part in debates about the benefits and challenges of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) careers for women
Screening and early treatment for type 2 diabetes
Area of research:
01 Oct 2016 – 30 Mar 2017