Lab Tests Tip Off Employees to CKD, Other Conditions

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Laboratory tests performed as part of employer-sponsored health risk assessments (HRA) revealed evidence that “newly identified” at least one of three common medical conditions in more than one third of adults, a study found.

The study of 52,270 subjects showed that 30.7%, 1.9%, and 5.5% had “newly identified” hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, respectively, based on laboratory evidence, according to a report in the online medical journal PLoS ONE. The authors, all of whom work for Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory testing company, said they used the term “newly identified” because “the medical risk is not ‘diagnosed' until confirmed usually with testing on a second specimen and after excluding other causes of the laboratory finding.”

The participants were part of a program sponsored by 15 employers and included adult employees and their eligible spouses or their domestic partners.

As part of the HRA survey, subjects were asked to report whether they had been informed by a physician that they had any of the medical conditions included in the study.

The researchers, led by Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, concluded that their findings show that, “for a large proportion of working-age adults, healthcare access alone does not guarantee detection of risk factors for common chronic health conditions. The availability of HRA with laboratory tests serves an important role in addressing this shortcoming. By identifying such opportunities early, employer-sponsored laboratory testing may slow or prevent the progression of common medical conditions.”

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