Hemoglobin A1c Levels Predict Risk Af Type 2 Diabetes In Middle-Aged, Older Women

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Levels of hemoglobin A1c -- or HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control-- in healthy middle-aged and older women can be an independentpredictor of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in theAugust issue of the American Journal of Medicine, Reuters reports.

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Aruna Pradhan of Brigham and Women's Hospital and colleagues examined 26,563 Women's Health Initiativeparticipants to determine whether baseline HbA1c levels can predicttype 2 diabetes and first cardiovascular events. The study participantswere at least age 45 at the beginning of the study and did not havetype 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The study found 1,238 casesof type 2 diabetes and 684 cardiovascular events among the participantsduring the follow-up period, which lasted an average of 10 years.

The researchers found a graded increase in risk of diabetes and heart-related events as levels of HbA1c increased, according to Reuters.When adjusting for other factors, HbA1c remained a strong predictor fortype 2 diabetes but not heart disease, the researchers said. Accordingto the researchers, it is uncertain if slight increases of HbA1c couldprovide prognostic information on the risk of type 2 diabetes or heartdisease among people at "usual risk" for the diseases. The researchersconcluded that although the study "did not support the use of HbA1c asa single measure of diabetes risk," the results "suggest that theprognostic significance of elevated HbA1c may warrant a greateremphasis in primary prevention" (Reuters, 9/6).

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