Randie R. Little, a research associate professor of child health at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, has studied undiagnosed diabetes in the U.S. population.She
says the HgA1c test "could be a useful screening test."
"Diabetes can go undiagnosed in adults for many years," says Little
."Sometimes, by the time people are identified, they already have some complications."
The longer the disease goes untreated, she
says, the higher the risk of complications, including kidney and heart problems and blindness.
"It is important to diagnose it early," says Little
."If you make certain lifestyle changes, like losing weight and exercising, you can really change the outcome or delay the onset."
What To Do: Take this true-or-false quiz on the HgA1c test from the National Diabetes Education Program.For general information about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association
or the International Diabetes Federation
...SOURCES: Interviews with David Edelman, M.D., research associate, Durham Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, assistant professor, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Randie R. Little, Ph.D., research associate professor, Department of Child Health, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, Mo.; January Journal of General Internal Medicine