Diabetes HbA1c test not so reliable for adolescents, according to study

Fri, 22 Jul 2011
A new study has found that the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test may not be as effective for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes in adolescents as previously thought. Despite the test being now accepted around the world as the standard for diabetes testing, the results it gives for this age group seem less reliable.

The HbA1c test for diagnosing diabetes has recently been formally approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), recommending it as a practical method that means patients do not always need to fast prior to a blood sample or take a glucose drink. However, this research, by scientists at the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Pediatrics, used receiver operator character (ROC) analyses to monitor HbA1c test performance and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels.

In the study of adolescent diagnosis, patients were defined as having diabetes (fasting plasma glucose [FPG] at one of three levels, greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, two-hour plasma glucose (greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL) and prediabetes (100 mg/dL �� FPG <126 mg/dL; 140 �� 2-hr PG <200 mg/dL).

The study revealed that ROC analyses suggested that HbA1c was a poorer predictor of prediabetes and diabetes mellitus for adolescents as compared to adults, and that accuracy was not improved when two-hour plasma glucose measurements were used.
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