Simple test to diagnose diabetes

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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ABBOTT PARK, Ill. - 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," he said.

However, not everyone with diabetes gets diagnosed so early. Nearly 26 million people have the disease in the U.S. and three times that amount are pre-diabetic and don't know it. That's where a diabetes test could help.

Unlike some tests that require you to fast overnight and give you a short-term result, Dr. Beth McQuiston, Medical Director for Diagnostics Products for Abbott, says the A1c blood test gives patients a picture of their blood sugar over the last three 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," she said.

It would allow 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 they have no idea," McQuiston said.

It's a simple test that could save your health.

"If you're heading towards an iceberg, shouldn't you know that it's coming so you can change your direction? Of course," said McQuiston.

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 hemoglobin A1c blood tests, the risk of developing eye, kidney, and nerve disease is reduced by 40 percent.

Additional Information:

Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in children and young adults. This condition does not allow the body to produce insulin, which is the hormone that is needed to transfer food into energy. Patients with type 1 diabetes rely on insulin treatments and therapy to survive. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. Also referred to as hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can also be the most dangerous. (Source:

SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of diabetes depend on the patient and type of diabetes. Some patients may not experience any symptoms, while others may suffer from severe symptoms. Common signs and symptoms are:

TREATMENT: Although, there is not a cure for diabetes, there are ways to prevent symptoms from interfering with everyday life. A few treatment options include eating healthy, becoming physically active, monitoring blood sugar levels, and medication. Following these basic treatment options will enhance your physical performance and increase your ability to live a normal functioning life. (Source:

HBA1C: Glycated hemoglobin, also known as HbA1c, is a form of hemoglobin used primarily to monitor long-term diabetes control. This helps doctors understand how well the patient's diabetes is being managed from a treatment or dosing perspective. The HbA1c test differs from a patient-administered blood glucose test, which takes a snapshot of a patient's blood sugar level at a moment in time. Laboratories are seeing an increase of HbA1c testing due to the rise in patients with diabetes. More than 346 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, and the World Diabetes Foundation estimates that number will increase by nearly 27 percent by 2030. The blood test provides a result to the physician in just 36 minutes. "We are pleased to offer an important tool to address the need for a fully automated glycated hemoglobin assay, which can meet the demands of increased testing volumes. With this test, health care providers can now confidently measure their patients' management of diabetes and use this information to potentially improve treatment decisions," Brian Blaser, executive vice president, Diagnostics Products, Abbott, was quoted as saying. (Source:

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