Nearly one in five hospitalized adults has an elevated hemoglobin A1C level but hasn't been diagnosed with diabetes, researchers have found. A1C is a blood test that provides a picture of average blood glucose levels over the past 2 to 3 months.
Researchers measured the A1C of 695 nonpregnant patients who didn't have a diabetes diagnosis. Eighteen percent of them had an A1C of more than 6.1%, which researchers considered indicative of diabetes. Random blood glucose levels didn't reliably predict elevated A1C in the patients, researchers found.
During the subsequent year, just 15% of patients who were followed within the healthcare system were diagnosed as having diabetes. The researchers recommend that patients who have elevated A1C levels discovered during hospitalization receive long-term outpatient care to prevent complications of diabetes.
Source: Wexler DJ, Nathan DM, Grant RW, Regan S, Van Leuvan AL, Cagliero E. Prevalence of elevated hemoglobin A1c among patients admitted to the hospital without a diagnosis of diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(11):4238-4244.