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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. Go to to use the CANRISK tool. The CTFPHC recommends:footnote 1

  • 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.

Diabetes Canada recommends testing every 3 years if you are age 40 or older. If you are at very high risk, the Diabetes Canada recommends that you get tested more often and/or begin testing at a younger age. You are at risk for diabetes if:footnote 2

  • You have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes.
  • You are of Indigenous, 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 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 Task Force on Preventive Health Care (2012). Recommendations on screening for type 2 diabetes in adults. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(15): 1687–1696. Also available online:
  2. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Screening for diabetes in adults. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S16–S19. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.004. Accessed October 15, 2018.


Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Matthew I. Kim MD - Endocrinology

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