Hemoglobin A1c can be useful in predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes

According to a study published in the European Journal of General Practice, Hemoglobin A1c can be used to predict the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. A person has an increased risk of developing diabetes if his HbA1c levels are more than 5.5%. The results obtained from the study once again emphasize the importance of checking HbA1c levels as a screening test, in order to predict the risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2.

The term HbA1c refers to glycated hemoglobin. When our body metabolizes sugar, the glucose formed in the process attaches itself to the hemoglobin molecules making them “glycated.” The amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin protein is directly proportional to amount of sugar present in the system. As the lifespan of a red blood cell in humans averages from 8 to 12 weeks, measuring glycated hemoglobin can give an idea of the average blood glucose during that period of time.

The researchers carried out a community based cohort study involving 10,201 individuals who had not been diagnosed with diabetes. The mean age of the participants was 58.25 ± 15.58 years, their mean Hb1Ac levels were 5.59 ± 0.55%, and the BMI of 76.8% of the participants was more than 25 kg/m2.  All the participants underwent HbA1c test during the period between 2002-2005. The researchers observed that the risk of developing diabetes was 2.49 in individuals with HbA1c between 5.5% and 6%. The risk was 4.82 when HbA1c was between 6% and 6.5% and it was 7.57 in individuals when HbA1c was between 6.5% and 7%. Participants with HbA1c less than 4.5% at the start of the study had no elevated risk of developing diabetes.

The researchers also noticed that the risk of developing diabetes was increased by 1.14 in male patients and by 2.06 in participants with BMI more than 25 kg/m2. It was seen that age and socio-economic status do not play a role in increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

Editor: Dr. Bimal Rajalingam MBBS DNB 

Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24286159

Friday, January 31, 2014