More Testing Needed To Prevent Diabetes

The National Institute of Health estimates that as many as 79 million Americans are pre diabetic, a condition that often leads to full-blown diabetes. That means that roughly 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes unless they drastically change their lifestyle. To catch prediabetes in patients, federal health officials and diabetic groups are promoting wider use of the AIC test, which diagnoses diabetes and pre diabetes.

The AIC test , unlike standard blood tests, is easy, quick, and simple for doctors to administer. Patients are not required to fast and are allowed to eat and drink normally throughout the day. The test measures average blood sugar levels from the preceding two or three months, whereas normal diabetes testing only measures glucose levels at the time of the exam.

David Sacks, chief of clinical chemistry at the National Institute of Health’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, hopes that “the convenience of the AIC test will encourage more people to be tested for prediabetes and diabetes”. He chaired a standards-setting organization that improved the tests accuracy in 2009.

Novant Health, a group of hospitals on the East Coast, has begun widespread administration of the AIC test to measure the blood sugar levels of most of its adult patients admitted for any reason. Since they began such widespread testing, Novant has identified nearly 4,000 patients (about 10% of all patients admitted) who had diabetes and didn’t know it.

Novant’s vice president for clinical improvement, James Lederer, believes that many American doctors “fail to recognize the mild aberrations which identify people as being prediabetic or diabetic”. Physicians may dismiss high blood sugar results as borderline, and not to be taken seriously, when they could actually be diabetic.

Prediabetic patients may have no symptoms at all and have no motivation to get tested. This is why it is so important for doctors to administer the AIC test to all patients, or at least patients that may be at risk for diabetes. Some symptoms of prediabetes may include blurred vision, unusual thirst, or constant urination. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please see your doctor right away and ask for a diabetes test.

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