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For individuals who may be at risk for developing diabetes, blood testing plays an important role in diagnosing their condition and determining whether or not lifestyle changes are necessary. However, not all tests are the same.
Dr. David Sacks, of the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, told the Department of Health and Human Services' HealthBeat that HbA1c testing is the most effective method used for detecting diabetes. This blood test measures levels of sugar attached to specific proteins in the blood. Since these proteins remain in the circulatory system for about three months, the test is considered a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Best of all, Dr. Sacks said there is no need for an individual to fast before undergoing the test, as is necessary with most other common blood tests for diabetes.
"Because hemoglobin AIC is not affected by short-term glucose in the blood, you can measure it at any time of the day and whenever the patient arrives, regardless of the time of their previous meal," he told the news source.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that there are about 7 million people in the U.S. who have undiagnosed diabetes. This number underscores the importance of testing for people who have risk factors for the disorder.
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