An account is given of asymptomatic diabetes mellitus. To determine the incidence in 200 patients with senile cataract 3 tests are described, namely, a modified standard glucose tolerance test, a provocative steroid glucose tolerance test, and a standard glucose tolerance test. Known diabetics and patients with a fasting blood glucose in excess of 5.5 mmol/l or glycosuria were excluded. Eighty-eight patients had an abnormal modified standard glucose tolerance test. Of these, 41 had an abnormal curve after a provocative steroid glucose tolerance test, and 30 had an abnormal curve after a standard glucose tolerance test. Forty-three of the 71 patients with abnormal curves had no glycosuria, although the blood glucose level exceeded an arbitrary renal threshold of 10 mmol/l. Asymptomatic diabetes was diagnosed in patients of all age groups. It is concluded that glucose intolerance is common in patients with senile cataract who show no glycosuria and have a normal fasting blood sugar on routine examination.
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