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New Guidelines Urge A1C Test for Diabetes Diagnosis
Date:12/29/2009

ns when blood sugar levels are higher than they should be.

Generally, people without diabetes have an A1C level of less than 5 percent.

This percentage gives the doctor an idea of what the patient's blood sugar levels have been for the past two to three months, which may help diagnose more people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes sooner than they might have been in the past.

"This is a very practical, innovative concept," said Dr. Michael Bergman, an endocrinologist and a clinical associate professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "People don't need to be fasting for an A1C, and there are fewer variables that can affect the outcome of the A1C," he explained.

"I think diabetes is grossly underdiagnosed and prediabetes, even more so. It's a real problem, and these guidelines may help sensitize the medical community to it," said Bergman.

Bergenstal said the ADA does recommend that A1C levels should be measured using a central lab, rather than a point-of-care A1C test. Like blood glucose monitors, some doctors' offices have A1C tests that can provide nearly instant A1C test results. And, while these machines can be useful in the management of diabetes, the ADA is not recommending that they be used for the initial diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes.

More information

Learn more about the hemoglobin A1C test from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Richard Bergenstal, M.D., president-elect, medicine and science, American Diabetes Association; Michael Bergman, M.D., endocrinologist and clinical associate professor, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; January 2010, Diabetes Care


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