A1C Blood Test OK for Diabetes Diagnosis
New Guidelines Call for Using A1C Blood Test to Identify People With Prediabetes
WebMD News Archive
How the A1C Test Works continued...
Under the new recommendations, people with A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4%
will be considered to have prediabetes and those with levels of 6.5% or higher
will be considered to have diabetes.
testing is recommended for:
- 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.
Test Could Identify Millions
Buse says the new test could help identify millions of people with
prediabetes who would otherwise not be tested for diabetes.
"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," he says.
Because conditions such as pain
and infection can cause temporary elevations in blood sugar, this patient would
probably not be tested for diabetes in this setting using the traditional blood
The new guidelines also call for patients with prediabetes to have access to
programs designed to promote weight
loss and lifestyle changes that could prevent the disease.
Third-party payers do not typically cover these programs but they can be
highly effective for preventing diabetes, which is an expensive disease to
treat if poorly managed, current ADA president for medicine and science Richard
M. Bergenstal, MD, tells WebMD.
"Even modest weight loss and increases in activity can keep people with
prediabetes from developing the disease," he says.
Recent studies suggest that overweight people who lose just 5% to 10% of
their body weight and exercise
as little as 30 minutes a day, a minimum of five days a week, can reduce their
risk by close to 60%, Buse says.