A New Way to Test for Prediabetes: Screening for new diabetes cases has always been a challenge because testing isn’t mandatory and current testing is very specific in how it is administered. However, a test not currently used for diagnosing diabetes may be added as a less restrictive way to check for the presence of the disease.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recently recommended using the A1C test as a way to identify those who are diabetic and prediabetic.
According to WebMD, “Patients do not need to fast before the test is given, and it is far less likely to identify clinically irrelevant fluctuations in blood sugar because it measures average blood glucose levels over several months.”
This is important because no special preparation for the test is required and can be administered during any routine visit to the doctor if the physician feels it is warranted.
John Buse, MD, PhD, ADA president for medicine and science told WebMD, “We now know that early diagnosis and treatment can have a huge impact on outcomes by preventing the complications commonly seen when diabetes is not well controlled. Our hope is that people with early or prediabetes who might otherwise not be tested would have the A1C test.”
While the A1C test has been available for more than three decades it has taken some time for the test to be considered a reliable test for diabetes detection.
WebMD suggests diabetic testing for the following…
- Any adult who is overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater) with one or more additional risk factor for diabetes including: having a family history of the disease, belonging to a high-risk ethnic group (African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian-American), having high blood pressure or a history of gestational diabetes.
- Anyone who is age 45 or older, regardless of risk factors. (Source: WebMD)
When A1C levels are above 6.5 an individual is diagnosed as diabetic. Anything reading between 5.7 and 6.4 is considered pre-diabetic. A healthy patient should have an A1C level of around 5.
While the A1C test is not to be used as a replacement for current tests Buse believes the addition of this test could help identify millions of prediabetics who have not had any traditional tests. Buse told WebMD, “I’m thinking of an overweight guy who is 40 years old who doesn’t see the doctor unless he strains his back or is sick.”
If an individual who is overweight could reduced their overall weight by 5-10% most risk factors for diabetes are reduced by as much as 60% according to the report.
This goal is achieved through lifestyle alterations and adding physical exercise to your daily routine. The ADA would like to see insurance companies help by paying for programs for those diagnosed as prediabetic. No word on if that will happen, but the pressure is on for a greater awareness and diagnoses of prediabetes – and then removing the obstacles that stand in the way of good health.
The potential of a test that identifies those most at risk for developing diabetes is important because early detection can allow choices to be made that could prevent the disease from further development.
If you overweight and are 45 years of age or older this might be a great test to help you get on track with long-term health objectives.