HbA1c test to be used to diagnose diabetes
The HbA1c test measures the amount of glucose being carried by the red blood cells in the body and indicates a person’s blood glucose levels for the previous two-to-three months. People with diabetes have at least one HbA1c test a year after diagnosis but now, following a review by the WHO, the test has been recommended to also be used for diagnosing diabetes.
Dr Ala Alwan, Assistant Director General of WHO’s Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, said the addition of this test for diagnosing diabetes is a positive development, provided that stringent quality assurance tests are in place and measurements standardised.
"Unlike other means of diagnosis, it does not require a patient to fast before a blood sample is taken, nor to consume a glucose drink that many people find unpalatable. HbA1c also has the advantage of reflecting the person’s average blood glucose levels over the preceding two-three months," said Dr Alwan.
HbA1c test also avoids the day to day variability of blood glucose values.
Please download our new HbA1c numbers chart