Type 2 Diabetes: Screening for Adults

Topic Overview

Experts do not recommend routine testing for type 1 diabetes. Experts differ on when is the best time to start testing for type 2 diabetes. Talk with your doctor about what is putting you at risk for diabetes and whether you should be tested.

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) recommends using a risk calculator such as the Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire (CANRISK) to determine your level of risk. CANRISK is available at http://www.diabetestest.ca/. The CTFPHC recommends:footnote 2

  • Not testing if you have low to moderate risk.
  • Testing every 3 to 5 years with an A1c test if you are at high risk.
  • Yearly testing with an A1c test if you are at very high risk.

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends testing every 3 years if you are age 40 or older. If you are at very high risk, the CDA recommends that you get tested more often and/or begin testing at a younger age. Some risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:footnote 1

    • You have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes.
    • You are of Aboriginal, African, Hispanic, Asian, or South Asian descent.
    • You have prediabetes. This means your blood sugar is above normal but is not high enough to be diabetes.
    • You have high blood pressure.
    • You have high cholesterol or other fats in your blood.
    • You had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or you have delivered a baby who weighed 4.5 kilograms or more.
    • You are a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
    • You are overweight (especially around your middle).
    • You have vascular disease, such as heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
    • You have a skin problem called acanthosis nigricans.
    • You have schizophrenia.

For more information, see the topic Type 2 Diabetes.



  1. Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee (2013). Screening for type 1 and type 2 diabetes section of Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37 (Suppl 1): S12–S15. Also available online: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca.
  2. Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (2012). Screening for type 2 diabetes. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(15): 1687–1696. Also available online: http://canadiantaskforce.ca/guidelines/2012-diabetes.


Adaptation Date: 2/20/2019

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

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