New tool could help tackle type 2 diabetes in Qatar and beyond

A recent study has highlighted a groundbreaking early assessment tool that could play a pivotal role in controlling the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Qatar and potentially on a global scale.

The Pre-diabetes Risk Score in Qatar (PRISQ) has shown remarkable accuracy in diagnosing pre-diabetes, offering a non-invasive, rapid, and cost-effective solution. This tool could significantly impact public health strategies for early intervention and diabetes prevention.

How does it work?

The Pre-diabetes Risk Score (PRISQ) was developed using clinical data from Qatar Biobank and is based entirely on non-invasive parameters. The tool calculates a risk score for pre-diabetes by considering factors such as age, gender, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and blood pressure. In a real-world clinical setting, PRISQ demonstrated an impressive accuracy rate of over 90%.

To validate PRISQ's effectiveness, a study involving 1021 participants from three health centers was conducted by researchers from the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and the Qatar Biomedical and Research Institute. Participants underwent a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to confirm pre-diabetes, and their risk scores were calculated using PRISQ. The study found that PRISQ's sensitivity exceeded 90% for individuals aged 40 and above, regardless of ethnicity.

Why does it matter?

Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Managing pre-diabetes through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can often prevent or delay the progression to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial.

With 25% of adults in Qatar having pre-diabetes and around 42% of pregnant women experiencing gestational diabetes, the need for effective screening tools is evident.

PRISQ offers a solution tailored for primary healthcare settings, allowing for population-wide screening without the need for invasive procedures. Its implementation could relieve healthcare systems by enabling proactive healthcare and early intervention, thus addressing the growing diabetes epidemic.

The context

The high prevalence of pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes in Qatar underscores the urgent need for effective screening tools. The study "Real-world clinical validation of the Qatar pre-diabetes risk score: a cross-sectional study," published in BMJ Public Health, emphasizes the significance of PRISQ as a rapid, non-invasive, and cost-effective tool for pre-diabetes diagnosis.

Researchers developed PRISQ using data from 6000 Qatari individuals from Qatar Biobank. By focusing on non-invasive factors like age, BMI, and blood pressure, PRISQ performs at 80% accuracy with 86% sensitivity. The study involved 1021 walk-in participants, with 21.9% diagnosed with pre-diabetes and 3.3% with undiagnosed diabetes. It concluded that PRISQ's applicability transcends Qatar, holding the promise to address the type 2 diabetes crisis globally.

In the words of the researchers, "PRISQ stands as a powerful solution, providing a rapid and cost-effective pre-diabetes diagnosis through exclusively non-invasive parameters. Tailored for population screening in primary healthcare centres, its applicability transcends Qatar, holding the promise to globally address the type 2 diabetes crisis."

Thus, the implementation of PRISQ in primary healthcare centers is not just beneficial — it is imperative for proactive healthcare, offering relief to healthcare systems grappling with the diabetes epidemic.


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