(12/09/13) - It may now be easier than ever to diagnose diabetes, which means
catching the disease earlier for a lot of people.
You could be pre-diabetic and not even know it - and screening for it can be a long process that involves fasting. The disease is dangerous, potentially leading to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, even blindness. But, a quick, simple blood test could catch diabetes before one of those devastating effects takes its toll.
Diabetes is a disease Dr. Steve Edelman knows all too well. "I got diabetes when I was 15. I was super tired. I would fall asleep in class."
But not everyone with diabetes gets diagnosed so early. That is where a new diabetes test, already in use in Europe, could help.
Unlike some tests that require you to fast overnight and give you a short-term result, Dr. Beth McQuiston says the A1C blood test gives patients a picture of their blood sugar over the last 3 months, without fasting.
"You can test patients that just showed up at your hospital, weren't fasting, and figure out what their blood sugar looked like over time."
McQuiston says allowing physicians to help manage patients with diabetes, "the biggest, most important issue is that 79 million people are pre-diabetic, walking around right now with abnormal blood sugars, and have no idea."
Doctors say tests like the hemoglobin A1C are so important because they can help patients better monitor and manage their diabetes. Research shows that for every one-percent reduction in results of HBA1C blood tests, the risk of developing eye, kidney, and nerve disease is reduced by 40 percent.
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