HbA(1c) alone is a poor indicator of cardiometabolic risk in middle-aged subjects with pre-diabetes but is suitable for type 2 diabetes diagnosis: a cross-sectional study

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Millar, Sean R.
Perry, Ivan J.
Phillips, Catherine M.
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Objectives: Glycated haemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) measurement is recommended as an alternative to fasting plasma glucose (FPG) for the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. However, evidence suggests discordance between HbA(1c) and FPG. In this study we examine a range of metabolic risk features, pro-inflammatory cytokines, acute-phase response proteins, coagulation factors and white blood cell counts to determine which assay more accurately identifies individuals at increased cardiometabolic risk. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving a random sample of 2,047 men and women aged 46-73 years. Binary and multinomial logistic regression were employed to examine risk feature associations with pre-diabetes [either HbA1c levels 5.7-6.4%(39-46 mmol/mol) or impaired FPG levels 5.6-6.9 mmol/l] and type 2 diabetes [either HbA1c levels > 6.5% (> 48 mmol/mol) or FPG levels > 7.0 mmol/l]. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was used to evaluate the ability of HbA(1c) to discriminate pre-diabetes and diabetes defined by FPG. Results: Stronger associations with diabetes-related phenotypes were observed in pre-diabetic subjects diagnosed by FPG compared to those detected by HbA(1c). Individuals with type 2 diabetes exhibited cardiometabolic profiles that were broadly similar according to diagnosis by either assay. Pre-diabetic participants classified by both assays displayed a more pro-inflammatory, pro-atherogenic, hypertensive and insulin resistant profile. Odds ratios of having three or more metabolic syndrome features were also noticeably increased (OR: 4.0, 95% CI: 2.8-5.8) when compared to subjects diagnosed by either HbA(1c) (OR: 1.4, 95% CI: 1.2-1.8) or FPG (OR: 3.0, 95% CI: 1.7-5.1) separately. Conclusions: In middle-aged Caucasian-Europeans, HbA(1c) alone is a poor indicator of cardiometabolic risk but is suitable for diagnosing diabetes. Combined use of HbA(1c) and FPG may be of additional benefit for detecting individuals at highest odds of type 2 diabetes development.
Fasting plasma glucose , American Heart Association , Cardiovascular disease , Metabolic syndrome , Glycated hemoglobin , Older adults , Health care , A1c , HbA1c , Inflammation
Millar SR, Perry IJ, Phillips CM (2015) HbA1c Alone Is a Poor Indicator of Cardiometabolic Risk in Middle-Aged Subjects with Pre-Diabetes but Is Suitable for Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis: A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0134154. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134154
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