Archive for September 17th, 2007

A Simple Blood Test To Determine Your Risk for Diabetes…

September 17, 2007

imagesx.jpgIf you think you are at risk of developing diabetes, our recommendation for now is to check your fasting blood sugar.  This is a test always included in executive panels.  However a more important measure of diabetes control is called A1c.  It is being done every three months among our diabetic patients to check their control or compliance to their medications.  Now a new study has supported the possible role of this blood test in predicting a patient’s risk of developing diabetes.

This study published in the American Journal of Medicine looked at a cohort of subjects in the Nurses Health Study and established the possible linked of A1c and the future risk of developing diabetes:

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(HbA1c) is a marker of cumulative glycemic exposure over the preceding 2- to 3-month period.   The authors examined baseline HbA1c levels as a predictor of incident clinical diabetes in a prospective cohort study beginning in 1992 of 26,563 US female health professionals aged 45 years or more without diagnosed diabetes or vascular disease (median follow-up 10.1 years).

Results: During follow-up, 1238 cases of diabetes events occurred.  After multivariable adjustment, HbA1c remained a strong predictor of diabetes.

 In analyses of threshold effects, adjusted relative risks for incident diabetes in HbA1c categories of less than 5.0%, 5.0% to 5.4%, 5.5% to 5.9%, 6.0% to 6.4%, 6.5% to 6.9%, and 7.0% or more were 1.0, 2.9, 12.1, 29.3, 28.2, and 81.2, respectively.

Conclusions:  HbA1c levels are elevated well in advance of the clinical development of type 2 diabetes, supporting recent recommendations for lowering of diagnostic thresholds for glucose metabolic disorders.

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It has been a continuing debate whether to use A1c as a diagnostic tool for diabetes.  We are using it to assess control rather than diagnosis.  We know that the higher the A1c… the higher the risk of complications of diabetes espcially death and heart attacks.  Therefore, we should impart the information to our diabetics that lowering A1c is lowering your risk to suffer from disability!

Now, our focus is for those at risks and those with apparently no risks to embark on a healthy lifestyle to avoid getting this chronic disease strongly associated with obesity and poor lifestyle!  If in doubt, we may be able to use this simple blood test to determine our risk… and if indeed that risk is high… it can be a better motivational tool to change lifestyle and be better in terms of choices of food and more physical activity!

The study has shown that in those with no risk… checking A1c can predict the outcome. That if ones A1c is >5% ; the risk to develop diabetes in the future starts to double!

Be Proactive… Better to Check Early Than Have The Disease!

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