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Newer Blood Test Predicts Diabetes, Heart Disease
Date:3/3/2010

A1C outperforms fasting glucose in predicting heart disease and stroke risk, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- The newer hemoglobin A1C test predicts diabetes as well as the traditional fasting blood sugar test, but it beats that old standard in predicting a patient's future risk of heart disease and stroke, new research shows.

After adjusting for common cardiovascular disease risk factors, the study found that while A1C levels high enough to diagnose diabetes were associated with nearly twice the risk of coronary heart disease, no such association was found with fasting glucose readings high enough to trigger a diabetes diagnosis.

The A1C test is also known as a glycated hemoglobin test, and using a small blood sample, it measures your average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months.

"Our data show that glycated hemoglobin is a really potent risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you have abnormal glycated hemoglobin results, you should be targeted for diabetes and cardiovascular disease interventions," said the study's lead author, Elizabeth Selvin, an assistant professor of epidemiology and medicine in the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

In January, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommended that doctors could begin using the A1C test for diagnosis of diabetes. Previously, the test wasn't recommended because it hadn't been standardized from lab to lab. The ADA set the level for diagnosis of diabetes at 6.5 percent or higher, and the diagnosis of pre-diabetes for levels of 5.7 to 6.4 percent.

The A1C percentage is the amount of a person's hemoglobin that is glycated or glycosylated.

For the current study, Selvin and her colleagues measured A1C from more than 11,000 stored blood samples from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which began in 1990. None
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