Calls for the addition of A1C test as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying pre-diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has reported that its new clinical practice recommendations call for the addition of A1C test as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying pre-diabetes. The test has been recommended for years as a measure of how well people are doing to keep their blood glucose levels under control.

According to ADA, A1C is measured in terms of percentages. The test measures a person’s average blood glucose levels over a period of up to three months and previously had been used only to determine how well people were maintaining control of their diabetes over time. A person without diabetes would have an A1C of about 5%.

Under the new recommendations, an A1C of 5.7 – 6.4% would indicate that blood glucose levels were in the prediabetic range, meaning higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. That diagnosis would occur once levels rose to an A1C of 6.5% or higher.

The ADA recommends that most people with diabetes maintain a goal of keeping A1C levels at or below 7%, in order to properly manage their disease. Research shows that controlling blood glucose levels helps to prevent serious diabetes-related complications such as kidney disease, nerve damage and problems with the eyes and gums.

The A1C would join two previous diagnostic tests for diabetes, FPG (Fasting Plasma Glucose) and the OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test), both of which require overnight fasting. Because the A1C is a simple blood test and does not require fasting, allowing patients this option could increase willingness to get tested, thereby reducing the number of people who have type 2 diabetes, said ADA.