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New blood test ‘could aid diabetes risk assessments’

28th January 2014

A new technique of determining a person's risk of developing diabetes at an early stage has been developed by scientists at Tel Aviv University.

The team have investigated the potential of the A1c test – which has long been used to monitor type 2 diabetes – as a means of screening for the condition among high-risk patients. They analysed the medical history of 10,201 patients who were given the test in central Israel between 2002 and 2005.

Current guidelines suggest an A1c level of 6.5 percent or more is an indicator of the disease, while readings between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is an indicator of prediabetes. However, the new study showed that patients with A1c levels as low as 5.5 percent are significantly more likely to develop diabetes.

Every 0.5 percent increase in A1c levels up to 7 percent doubled the patients' risk of developing diabetes, while obesity also saw a twofold increase in risk. These findings could help doctors to predict the onset of the disease much earlier than is currently possible.

Dr Nataly Lerner of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine said: "We were actually able to quantify how risk increases with A1c levels. This could allow doctors to make more informed decisions regarding diabetes prevention."

In the UK, diabetes affects approximately 2.9 million people, with 90 percent of these cases being the type 2 variant.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801687221-ADNFCR

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