HbA1C is not the best test for the diagnosis of diabetes in children

Researchers from the University of Michigan have claimed that though ‘Hemoglobin A1c test’ may be convenient, it is certainly not the best way for the diagnosis of diabetes in children.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by the abnormally high glucose levels in the blood. While adults are predominantly affected by type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, the commonest form of diabetes in children is the type 1 diabetes. As per the American Diabetes Association, overweight children are at a higher risk of developing diabetes owing to their excessive weight.  

Common tests used in the diagnosis are fasting and post prandial blood sugar levels. To assess the blood sugar levels over a longer period the HBAIC test may be employed. HbA1C reveals the level of blood sugar three months preceding the test.  Owing to the convenience it provides, the hemoglobin A1c test has become increasingly popular, the most used and the most preferred test to check for the presence of diabetes in the United States of America. The test is typically suitable for people who have diabetes but display no symptoms of the disorder. One of the advantages of the test is that it does not require the patient to fast overnight before it is performed. Guidelines of the American Diabetes Association released in the year 2010 had recommended the use of the hemoglobin A1c test for diagnosing diabetes both in children and in adults.

Though the HbA1C test is used extensively in adults, its reliability in children in not clearly known. The researchers examined the test results of a study population of over thousand obese children aged between 12 and 18 years. The present study suggests that hemoglobin A1c test is not as reliable for the test of diabetes in children as it is adults. The researchers believe that its utility in children needs further study. Findings of the study published in the journal ‘Journal of Pediatrics’ have strong implications that employment the test in children as it may lead to several missed cases.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers stress that the use of hemoglobin A1c test for the diagnosis of diabetes in children is premature until further studies confirm its accuracy and reliability. In the meanwhile researchers advise that older and time tested methods like fasting and post prandial blood sugar measurements should be used in children for screening and diagnosis of diabetes.

A recent study by the University of Michigan Health System, published in Journal of Pediatrics. Diagnosis of diabetes using Hemogloblin A1c: Should recommendations in adults be extrapolated to adolescents?," Journal of Pediatrics. For more information, please visit:


Disclaimer: This article is written by a non-medical professional.