Impact of A1C Screening Criterion on the Diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes Among U.S. Adults

Mann, Devin M.; Carson, April P.; Shimbo, Daichi; Fonseca, Vivian; Fox, Caroline S.; Muntner, Paul

OBJECTIVE New clinical practice recommendations include A1C as an alternative to fasting glucose as a diagnostic test for identifying pre-diabetes. The impact of these new recommendations on the diagnosis of pre-diabetes is unknown.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2006 (n = 7,029) were analyzed to determine the percentage and number of U.S. adults without diabetes classified as having pre-diabetes by the elevated A1C (5.7–6.4%) and by the impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (fasting glucose 100–125 mg/dl) criterion separately. Test characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values) using IFG as the reference standard were calculated.

RESULTS The prevalence of pre-diabetes among U.S. adults was 12.6% by the A1C criterion and 28.2% by the fasting glucose criterion. Only 7.7% of U.S. adults, reflecting 61 and 27% of those with pre-diabetes by A1C and fasting glucose, respectively, had pre-diabetes according to both definitions. A1C used alone would reclassify 37.6 million Americans with IFG to not having pre-diabetes and 8.9 million without IFG to having pre-diabetes (46.5 million reclassified). Using IFG as the reference standard, pre-diabetes by the A1C criterion has 27% sensitivity, 93% specificity, 61% positive predictive value, and 77% negative predictive value.

CONCLUSIONS Using A1C as the pre-diabetes criterion would reclassify the pre-diabetes diagnosis of nearly 50 million Americans. It is imperative that clinicians and health systems understand the differences and similarities in using A1C or IFG in diagnosis of pre-diabetes.


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Diabetes Care

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
American Diabetes Association
Published Here
July 10, 2016