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A1c Test Shown to Be an Unreliable Diagnostic Tool for Kids With Diabetes

By December 7, 2011

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Current recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) state that the hemoglobin A1c test should be used exclusively for diagnosing diabetes in children. But a recent study shows that the A1c test does not accurately diagnose diabetes in children in a majority of cases. In fact, the A1c failed to diagnose two out of three children in the study who were eventually found to have diabetes.

The study tested 254 overweight children using both fasting and non-fasting testing methods. The participants that used the A1c for diagnostic purposes were compared with children in the study that were diagnosed with a 12-hour fasting test. The fasting test proved much more reliable in correctly diagnosing the children with diabetes.

Due to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, many children are currently at risk of developing diabetes and should be screened. Researchers fear that if the current ADA recommendations for using the A1c test are strictly followed, many of the children with diabetes might not be correctly diagnosed.

The fasting glucose test, while more accurate, poses a number of challenges. What do you see as the potential problems associated with screening kids using a 12-hour fasting glucose test? Post your comments below.

Making sense of your A1c test results.

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