Simple blood test can reveal early diabetes risk
Posted on Jan 28 2014 | IANS
London, Jan 28 : A simple blood test can reveal an individual's risk of developing type-2 diabetes much earlier - helping doctors provide earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University's Sackler faculty of medicine found that 'A1c' test - performed to diagnose type-2 diabetes - can also be used at a much earlier stage to screen for the disease in high-risk population, like overweight patients.
"We were actually able to quantify how risk increases with A1c levels. This could allow doctors to make more informed decisions regarding diabetes prevention," informed Nataly Lerner of Tel Aviv University.
To evaluate the A1c test's ability to screen for diabetes in high-risk patients, the researchers analysed the medical history of over 10,000 patients.
They found that overall, 22.5 percent of the patients developed diabetes within five to eight years.
Every 0.5 percent increase in A1c levels up to 7 percent doubled the patients' risk of developing diabetes.
Obesity also doubled patients' risk of developing diabetes, said the study published in the European Journal of General Practice.
"The study provides compelling new evidence that the A1c test can accurately gauge risk at an earlier stage than is currently recognised," said Lerner.
In some cases, lifestyle changes or medication could head off the disease which is difficult or impossible to cure once developed, added the study.
In healthy people, glucose is absorbed from the blood for use by various tissues.
But the cells of people with type-2 diabetes are resistant to insulin that is produced by the pancreas and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body.