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Diabetic Medicine

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 26  |  Issue: 12  |  Page No.: 1262 - 1268

Performance of HbA1c for detecting newly diagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes in Chinese communities living in Beijing

X. H. Zhou, L. N. Ji, Y. Y. Luo, X. Y. Zhang, X. Y. Han and Q. Qiao


Aim: To determine the performance of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) as a screening tool for detecting newly diagnosed diabetes (NDM) and pre-diabetes.
Methods: A diabetes survey was conducted in Beijing among community dwellers who were willing to participate in the survey. Included in the survey were 903 individuals aged 21–79 years without previously diagnosed diabetes and in whom HbA1c and other required covariates had been measured. NDM and pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance + impaired fasting glucose) were defined according to the World Health Organization 1999 criteria based on 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) was plotted to determine the performance of HbA1c.
Results: The prevalence of NDM and pre-diabetes was 11.1% and 22.4%, respectively. At an optimal HbA1c cut-off point of ≥ 6.0%, the test gave a sensitivity of 80.0% and a specificity of 89.8% for diagnosing NDM; at an optimal cut-off point of ≥ 5.7%, the sensitivity was 59.4% and specificity 73.9% for diagnosing pre-diabetes. Individuals with HbA1c≥ 6.0% tended to be more obese than those with HbA1c < 6.0%, but blood pressure and lipid profiles did not differ between the two groups.
Conclusions: HbA1c as a single screening test is adequate to detect newly diagnosed diabetes but is not able to identify pre-diabetes in this obese Chinese population.

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