Health Team

Non-fasting test is new standard for diabetics

Posted January 1, 2010

— Many people go through health screenings that include a fasting blood test, which is used to find people at-risk for diabetes and to monitor those with the disease.

Now, a more accurate, non-fasting test – called the Hemoglobin A1c – is the new standard.

“The fasting glucose test is like a snapshot on diabetes, but the A1c is a short movie – looking at blood sugar over two to three months,” said UNC endocrinologist Dr. John Buse.

Non-fasting test is new standard for diabetics UNC endocrinologi Non-fasting test is new standard for diabetics

Buse says the test looks at the amount of sugar stuck to hemoglobin molecules.

“It lives inside the red blood cell, which has a lifespan of about two to three months,” he said.

The American Diabetes Association now recommends the A1c test be the standard for diabetes screening.

For diabetics, the results show a number of 6.5 or higher. In screening, a number below 5.7 is normal and between 5.7 and 6.5 is high risk.

To avoid Type 2 diabetes, a doctor might recommend diet and exercise.

“There's a good chance you can bring that A1c test down and avoid being diagnosed with diabetes,” Buse said.

Buse says about 60 percent of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented with a low-fat, low-sugar diet and regular exercise if those people are identified early.


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  • LibertarianTechie Jan 4, 2010

    hereandnow99, that is the problem--we think a pill will solve all of our problems! Thanks to the fast food restaurants, changing one's diet is really quit easy. Yogurt with biscuit from McDonald's; fries without salt; subs; salads; etc. You just hace to look where to change, and realize that the weight loose will not happen in a week--it takes quit a while.

  • wp Jan 4, 2010

    A1C test is nothing new.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 4, 2010

    Diet and exercise?! What are these doctors saying? This is America!...home of the Whopper, the Big Mac, triple Wendy patty, Thickburger...and 2/3 obesity rates.

    They need to come up with a pill that Americans can take while sitting on the couch watching "The Biggest Loser". Of course, it should also "fix" heart disease and all those other diet/exercise related issues too. ;-)