Old Blood Test Predicts Type 2 Diabetes Super Early
It is possible to predict type 2 diabetes super early, even before prediabetes, according to a new report from Tel Aviv University. In fact, the test to make this prediction is one that doctors already use all the time for diabetes.
You may be familiar with the term hemoglobin A1c and the test of the same name. Traditionally, this test is used to help in the diagnosis of both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to monitor a person’s average level of blood glucose (sugar) over the previous two to three months.
The hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test is done by simply taking a blood sample either from a finger or from a vein in the arm. Unlike the fasting plasma glucose test, which is used to screen for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes and requires an 8-hour fast, the HbA1c test does not require fasting.
Now according to Dr. Nataly Lerner of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and her team of researchers, this easy test can detect type 2 diabetes much earlier than ever before possible in individuals at high risk of the disease. Generally, high-risk persons include those with metabolic syndrome, obesity, history of diabetes (including gestational diabetes), and prediabetes.
Understanding HbA1c levels
According to the American Diabetes Association:
- An HbA1c level of 6.5 percent or greater is an indication that a person has type 2 diabetes
- A level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes
The study’s authors report that high-risk individuals who have an HbA1c level as low as 5.5 percent are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with A1c levels lower than 5.5 percent.
To arrive at these findings, the authors evaluated medical data from 10,201 patients who had had the HbA1c test between 2002 and 2005. Overall, 22.5 percent of the individuals developed diabetes within five to eight years, and those with an HbA1c as low as 5.5 percent were much more likely to be diagnosed than those with a lower percentage.
In addition, the authors noted that:
- For every 0.5 percent rise in people’s HbA1c level up to 7 percent, they had a twofold risk of developing diabetes
- Presence of obesity also doubled a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes
Here’s some other important information regarding type 2 diabetes you should consider:
- Familiarize yourself with the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including the newest findings and special risk factors for women
- If you or your spouse or partner have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, there’s a significant chance the currently unaffected individual will develop the disease as well
- If you have not been tested for diabetes recently or at all and you have any risk factors, it’s time to get screened. If you don’t have health insurance or a doctor, check out a neighborhood clinic, health fair, or your local pharmacy for screening possibilities.
The bottom line
The idea that a simple, commonly used blood test can help predict type 2 diabetes super early is an important discovery. This early warning can give everyone more time to take the steps necessary to prevent onset of prediabetes and thus type 2 diabetes.
Tel Aviv University