Novel saliva assay to replace blood tests for diabetes

INDIA – A study by Scientists from the India Diabetes Research Foundation has shown that saliva sample could soon replace blood tests to diagnose and monitor diabetes, according to an Economic Times report.

Blood glucose testing is an essential part of diabetes diagnosis and management. However, because diabetes patients must perform a finger-pricking blood test, the procedure is slightly painful.

This discomfort, however, may soon be forgotten, as a recent study found that saliva samples can be used to test for diabetes.

Scientists from the India Diabetes Research Foundation screened 90 people who took a standard 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test for the study.

Among these, 53% had normal glucose tolerance, 18.9% had impaired glucose tolerance, and 27.8% had diabetes. The following day, all 90 people had their teeth examined.


According to a Times of India report, the level of specific hormones produced by the adipose tissues that play a role in fat metabolic status indicated type-2 diabetes in a group of people screened in the study.

Adipokine concentrations in serum and saliva were also investigated. Adipokines are cell-signaling molecules that are produced by fat.

However, this cannot be used a standardized tool for diagnosing diabetes before larger clinical studies are conducted.

There are 77 million people with diabetes in India. That implies that 1 in every 11 Indians suffers from one or the other kind of diabetes.

Doctors opine that this particular non-invasive method can detect diabetes in type-2 diabetes patients earlier than a serum test.

A serum test determines the level of albumin in the blood. The study discovered lower adipokine concentrations in saliva compared to serum, indicating type 2 diabetes.

In addition, people with Type 2 diabetes had lower levels of adiponectin in their serum.

Maintaining blood sugar is not an easy task, and requires a lot of lifestyle and dietary changes along with medication.

Diabetes prevalence in India

According to the International Diabetes Foundation, there are 77 million people with diabetes in India. That implies that 1 in every 11 Indians suffers from one or the other kind of diabetes.

India is second only to China in terms of the number of diabetics, with the highest number of affected people living in its urban areas.

In its latest guidelines, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) states that India is home to the world’s second-largest adult diabetes population and every sixth person with diabetes in the world is an Indian.

The past three decades witnessed a 150 percent increase in the number of people with diabetes in the country,” ICMR said in its guidelines, adding that matter of immense concern is the progressive lowering of the age at which type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed, with the disease prevalence becoming apparent in the age group of 25-34 years in both urban and rural areas.

Managing diabetes

Managing stress and quitting smoking is also helpful in keeping this ailment in check. Controlling alcohol intake is necessary, while exercise can help diabetic patients cope better

Learning relaxation techniques such as meditation also helps. Maintaining accurate timing for your medicines and meals are crucial.

If there is a gap of too long between meals, blood sugar levels may drop. That condition is known as hypoglycemia.

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