HbA1c for diagnosing diabetes accepted but still out of reach

UNIVERSAL use of HbA1c for diagnosing diabetes is a long way off, despite new Australian data showing the test can be used successfully, experts suggest.

While the WHO has formally accepted the use of HbA1c for diagnosis, the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) is yet to clarify how the recommendation should be implemented in Australia.

Adelaide researchers have shown HbA1c testing was able to detect undiagnosed diabetes in 262 patients out of more than 2300 admitted to a tertiary hospital over a three-month period.

Associate Professor Jonathan Shaw, who is associate director of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute said the study highlighted one of the practical advantages of the test.

“In any situation, it’s easy to do a simple blood test that doesn’t [require] fasting,” he said. 

Professor Shaw is a member of the ADS working group considering the introduction of HbA1c tests for