HbA1c testing recommended for early detection of type 2 diabetes


Suppliers welcome publication of NICE guidelines for two-stage strategy for diagnosis of at-risk patients

A two-step strategy has been developed for the diagnosis and identification of people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), written on behalf of the Department of Health, recommends a process of risk assessment followed, where necessary, by a blood test to confirm whether people have the disease or are at risk of developing it.

The document, entitled Preventing type 2 diabetes: risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk, follows World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) can be used as an alternative to standard glucose measures to diagnose type 2 diabetes among non-pregnant adults.

The benefits of HbA1c measurement, compared to fasting glucose testing, include the convenience for patients since there is no requirement to fast for a 12-hour period prior to testing.

EKF Diagnostics is the supplier of the Quo-Test and Quo-Lab near-patient analysers, which provide a result in just four minutes from 4μl of blood from a finger prick or venous sample. The analysers are also able to produce accurate quantitative results enabling a clear distinction of the level of risk. WHO has determined that HbA1c levels of 48 mmol/mol - 6.5% - or above indicate that someone has type 2 diabetes, and a UK expert group has recognised =there is a continuum of risk across a range of subdiabetic HbA1c levels, so that people with an HbA1c below 42 mmol/mol - 6% - may also be at risk.

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EKF Diagnostics chief executive, Julian Baines, welcomed the advice, telling BBH: “Quo-Test and Quo-Lab analysers will allow care providers to rapidly establish preventative treatment programmes for at-risk individuals. This rapid intervention reduces overall treatment costs, because in many at-risk cases, simple life style changes, to diet or physical activity levels, for example, are sufficient to reduce the chances of disease onset.”