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The most recent set of clinical guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) encourages the use of the hemoglobin A1C blood test for the diagnosis of type-2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
The new guidelines, which will be published in the January issue of Diabetes Care, explain that the A1C test measures a patient's average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months, HealthDay News reports. Specifically, The diagnostic technique measures the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is attached to blood sugar molecules.
A diagnosis of type-2 diabetes is given to those who exhibit A1C levels above 6.5 percent.
Dr Richard Bergenstal, president of medicine and science for the ADA, said that the A1C test is just as effective as blood sugar tests and oral glucose tolerance tests in diagnosing the conditions, but is convenient and does not require fasting.
Meanwhile, Dr Michael Bergman, a professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City told the news source, "I think diabetes is grossly under-diagnosed and pre-diabetes, even more so. It's a real problem, and these guidelines may help sensitize the medical community to it."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7.8 percent of the U.S. population had diabetes as of 2007.
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