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The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 1 million people could have diabetes but remain undiagnosed. This puts these individuals at a much higher risk of experiencing complications as a result of continually high blood sugar levels.
However, new research suggests that HbA1c testing may be able to diagnose individuals who are likely to develop type 2 diabetes well before they begin showing any symptoms of the condition, according to Medscape.
Researchers from the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands administered HbA1c tests and other measures to 565 adults who were free of diabetes at the beginning of the study then tracked participants' medical records for up to 20 years. The results showed that HbA1c test scores began rising several years before individuals developed diabetes.
The team also assessed participants' blood sugar levels at various points. However, they found HbA1c levels to be the strongest predictors of a person's chances of developing type 2 diabetes at some point later in the study period, the researchers told the news source. This early warning could provide individuals with a chance to make lifestyle changes that enable them to avoid the condition.
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