The Department of Health is recommending annual HbA1c tests to identify prediabetic cases in all over 25s deemed to be at high risk of diabetes.
HbA1c tests provide doctors with a measurement of average blood glucose levels over a 3 month period. High risk patients include those with a high BMI or with close relatives with type 2 diabetes and an HbA1c level of over 5.5% (37 mmol/mol).
The recommendations have been put forward by Dr Rowan Hillso, the Department of Health’s National Clinical Director for Diabetes. The additional screening would help to monitor people in a prediabetic state and enable those patients to make appropriate lifestyle changes to avoid developing type 2 diabetes.
The new diabetes screening recommendations could be an important step towards reducing the prevalence of diabetes but would undoubtedly increase GP’s workload. If the recommended changes in screening are adopted, it could see a very significant increase in the number of people formally recorded as having prediabetes. The implications of such screening would put extra pressure on the NHS though, and particularly on GPs, which already note that GP surgeries are beginning to resemble diabetes clinics more each year.

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