Is there a good screening test to predict my risk for diabetes?

The best predictor of diabetes is a test called Hemoglobin A1C (HBA1C), which measures the amount of sugar stuck on cell membranes. At the American Diabetes Association meeting in June 2006, Dr. Peter Baginsky of Santa Rosa, California showed that HBA1C can be used not only to identify people who already have diabetes, but also as a screening test to predict which people are likely to develop diabetes in the future. This allows doctors to treat pre-diabetes before people suffer their heart attacks, strokes and other side effects that can be the first sign that the person has diabetes.

He also showed that people who have HBA1Cs above 5.8 have a 92 percent chance of being diabetic as determined by a fasting glucose tolerance test. The HBA1C test does not require fasting and can be done with only one draw of blood, while the glucose tolerance test takes seven. It is less expensive and has the potential to save a lot of lives by getting diabetics into treatment earlier.

Checked 4/22/14

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