Most doctors rely on hemoglobin A1c blood test results in detecting a patient’s risk for Type II diabetes and prediabetes. It has been found out recently that this test yields poor reading, resulting in a misdiagnosis for the majority of patients who are at risk. This is based on the research results shown at the Endocrine Society gathering held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The scientists compared and contrasted the accuracy of the hemoglobin A1c test with the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). They discovered that the A1c test missed about 73% of diabetic patients as opposed to the OGTT results. A1c is widely used because people don’t need to fast before their blood is drawn. It is very convenient that way.
Fasting blood sugar test mandates that the patient should fast first. OGTT gauges the body’s reaction to sugar after fasting overnight. Blood is drawn, then the patient drinks a sugary beverage. Two hours later, the patient’s blood is taken.
Paying Attention to Race and Ethnicity
It was vital in the study that there was diversity in the population. The researchers concluded that ethnicity and race give way to differences that influenced the A1c testing accuracy. The percentages of accuracy they found were:
• 89% in Caucasians
• 86% in Mexican Americans
• 85% in Latinos
• 71% in African Americans
Avoid Relying on A1c
According to Elena Christofides, MD, FACE, Endocrinologist and the CEO of Endocrinology Associates based in Columbus, Ohio, A1c shortcomings are recognized by other scientists as well. This blood test is truly not a competent tool in making accurate diabetes diagnoses for those at risk for the disease. Though A1c is still used as part of the diagnosis OGTT is still recognized as the more accurate test. Even if the A1c result is normal, the patient is still subjected to OGTT to omit the suspicion of diabetes or prediabetes.
There are problems with A1c results because, as Dr. Christofides said, when the sugar in the circulation builds up, it eventually attaches to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The A1c blood test measures the amount of glucose bound. Certain ethnicities or races alter the means by which sugar binds to hemoglobin, which is why there are false readings.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes early with an A1c blood test but your doctor has not ordered OGTT yet, request your physician to order the OGTT immediately as well. Treatment and lifestyle changes should begin right away. Once you understand your known risks and do your part, you can prevent your prediabetes from progressing or even reverse Type II diabetes completely.