Simple test that helps predict–and defeat–diabetes

I test all of my patients for hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C). This test tells you how well controlled your blood sugar has been for the past six weeks. And a new study shows just how important it is to keep tabs on it…

According to this recent research, an elevated HbA1c level translates into a much higher risk of developing full-blown diabetes within the following year.

A group of 1,722 Japanese adults between 26 and 80 years old took part in the study. Their fasting blood glucose and HbA1c were measured annually over a 9.5-year period.

During that time, a total of 193 participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When researchers checked the patients’ previous scores, they found that HbA1 scores were 5.6% higher, on average, the year before diagnosis.

Even small increases in blood sugar levels can significantly increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Which is why I encourage my patients to keep tabs on their HbA1c. An HbA1C under 5 is healthy. A result between 5 and 6 indicates prediabetes. And anything above 6 is considered diabetes.

But one important thing this study didn’t address is the fact that diabetes isn’t inevitable following an elevated HbA1C level. You can bring a “prediabetic” level back down to normal simply by making a few changes. Namely, cutting refined carbs and sugar. And focusing instead on foods like meats, seafood, cheese, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Not only will they keep you satisfied longer, but they’ll also keep your blood sugar steadier. Which means your HbA1C will return to the “healthy” range. And you’ll avoid diabetes altogether.

“Longitudinal Trajectories of HbA1c and Fasting Plasma Glucose Levels During the Development of Type 2 Diabetes: The Toranomon Hospital Health Management Center Study 7 (TOPICS 7),” Diabetes Care 2012; 35(5):1,050-1,052