Diagnostic imaging could be employed to allow doctors to predict who will suffer from type 2 diabetes in later life.
New research from Queen Mary, University of London has revealed that methods exist which could aid the risk assessment of the disease, but are not being used.
Scientists believe that if these tools were more widespread and used by GPs, as well as members of the public, then many cases of diabetes could be prevented.
Dr Douglas Noble, who led the research team, said their work had identified seven techniques which could help people know when they were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
He explained that once patients know they are at risk many could take steps, such as regular exercise or dietary changes, to avoid the illness.
According to Diabetes UK, the symptoms of the illness can include extreme tiredness, increased thirst and the slow healing of cuts and abrasions.