ANCHOR LEAD: USING AN AVERAGE BLOOD SUGAR MEASUREMENT HELPS DIAGNOSE DIABETES, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Diabetes should be diagnosed using a test called ‘hemoglobin A1c,’ which looks at the average blood sugar over several weeks. That’s according to Christopher Saudek, a diabetes expert at Johns Hopkins. Saudek points out the many disadvantages of fasting glucose, the test used now.
SAUDEK: To diagnose diabetes now you have to have a fasting test. The patient has to come in after not having eaten for eight to ten hours and then have a blood sugar test. And that’s not especially convenient, and it means for example that patients who have visits in the afternoon are not ordinarily fasting and so diabetes if they have it is missed. Fasting blood glucose can be modified by a patient fairly quickly. If you do follow a diet or lose some weight for even as short a period of time as a week or so you can bring down your fasting blood glucose. :32
Hemoglobin A1c testing is widely available and reliable, and everyone should know their value. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.