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Could diabetes screening criteria be about to change?

European authorities are considering changing the diagnostic criteria for type 2 diabetes and recommend using HbA1c testing rather than the current oral glucose tolerance test.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) switched to diagnosis of type 2 diabetes by HbA1c testing in January. The European Association for the Study of Diabetes is now formally considering the move with a decision expected within a year.

Using this new method, Type 2 diabetes would be diagnosed in patients with an HbA1c of 6.5% or higher.

Some concern

Cathy Moulton, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK said: “The ADA have published a cut off for screening for diabetes with an HbA1c of 6.5%. Diabetes UK is concerned as to whether this is the correct cut off level without having the opportunity to review the evidence upon which the ADA has based this decision."

"We are aware that the World Health Organisation (WHO) are also reviewing this issue and will publish their recommendations on HbA1c as a screening method later this year. Diabetes UK currently recommends the use of WHO diagnostic recommendations and will continue to do so until these are amended. Plans are being made to hold a consensus meeting to review the WHO recommendations when they come out.”

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