Diagnosing type 2 diabetes in clinical practice may require only a single blood sample, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study, published June 19 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found evidence that a positive result for two standard diabetes markers in a single blood sample is a highly accurate predictor of diabetes and of major diabetes complications such as kidney disease and heart disease.
About 25 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, which involves a failure of the body’s normal regulation of sugar (glucose) levels in the blood. The resulting chronic elevation of blood glucose (hyperglycemia) increases the risk of other major illnesses including heart disease, eye disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Current clinical guidelines recommend that an initial blood test result indicating elevated fasting levels of glucose or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) be confirmed at a second doctor’s visit with another blood test — a time-consuming and relatively expensive practice that may lead to missed diagnoses.
“The results of our study suggest that the two tests from one blood sample can provide adequate confirmation of diabetes, potentially allowing a major simplification of current clinical practice guidelines,” says study lead author Dr. Elizabeth Selvin, a professor in the department of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.