MONDAY, Feb. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Rates of diabetes screening are high, with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) used less but more likely to result in clinical diagnosis, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in Diabetes Care.

Joshua M. Evron, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined changes in screening among adults without diabetes aged 45 years or older. Screening was defined as the first oral glucose tolerance test, HbA1c, or glucose test performance between 2010 and 2014.

The researchers found that 78 percent of the 12,772 eligible patients were screened at least once over three years. The initial screening test was HbA1c and glucose 14 and 86 percent of the time, respectively. Sixty-three percent of those screened with HbA1c had abnormal results (HbA1c ≥5.7 percent). Thirty percent of those tested with glucose had abnormal results defined as glucose ≥100 mg/dL, and 5 percent had glucose levels ≥126 mg/dL. The likelihood of being scheduled for follow-up appointments was equal for patients with abnormal HbA1c and glucose ≥126 mg/dL (41 and 39 percent, respectively); however, the likelihood of being diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes was increased for those with abnormal HbA1c (36 versus 26 percent).

“Although still used less frequently than glucose testing, HbA1c testing is now being performed more frequently for screening, is more likely to be performed for high-risk patients, and is associated with higher rates of diagnosis, referral, and treatment,” the authors write.

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