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Researchers find easy and effective blood test to identify pre-diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As the number of people classified as pre-diabetic continues to grow, it is of increasing importance that those at risk of diabetes get tested. However, many people fail to get tested.

A new study from Indiana University School of Medicine offers an easier way to test individuals that may increase the number of people who get tesed. Published in the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study describes how the hemoglobin A1c test is speedy and effective at recognizing pre-diabetes.

In the United States, an estimated 60 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning they are at risk of diabetes. Approximately seven percent of those Americans do not know they are pre-diabetic, and about 30 percent of them will develop Type 2 diabetes in less than ten years.

The A1c test is a common blood test easily and quickly administered by most physicians. It measures average blood glucose level for the previous 3 month period without requiring patients to fast overnight. The test is already used to test the blood of diabetic patients.

Lead author Ronald T. Ackermann, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist, says that the study's findings show how easy it is to avoid the development of diabetes in pre-diabetic individuals. If physicians administer this simple test to individuals with with a family history of risk factors, they can easily find out which patients need to change their behaviors, explains Ackermann. Once an individual knows they are pre-diabetic, avoiding diabetes is as easy as losing some weight and exercising.

Because of the relative cost-effectiveness and ease with which the A1 test is administered, Ackermann believes physicians have good reason to screen their patients who they believe to be at risk of diabetes.

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Review Date: 
January 6, 2011
Last Updated:
January 7, 2011