We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Simplifying Diagnosis of Diabetes in Remote Indigenous Settings

Simplifying Diagnosis of Diabetes in Remote Indigenous Settings

Simplifying Diagnosis of Diabetes in Remote Indigenous Settings

Simplifying Diagnosis of Diabetes in Remote Indigenous Settings

Read time:

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Simplifying Diagnosis of Diabetes in Remote Indigenous Settings"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Early identification of diabetes is crucial to starting preventive treatment that would help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes. However, the current diagnostic test — the assessment of blood glucose levels — is inefficient and time-consuming, particularly for those in remote settings, the researchers wrote.

“Delayed diagnosis is due in part to the use of an algorithm that relies on the assessment of glucose levels and, if the results are equivocal, a follow-up oral glucose tolerance test”, the researchers, led by Dr Julia Marley from the University of Western Australia’s Rural Clinical School, wrote.

“This complicated algorithm can significantly delay informing and educating the patient.

“In contrast to glucose testing, assessment of glycated haemoglobin A (HbA1c) requires no fasting. This makes it more suitable for opportunistic testing, and results in fewer missed diagnoses.”

Marley and colleagues compared the use of standard glucose testing with the application of a combination of point-of-care (POC) and laboratory HbA1c testing in a 255 Indigenous Australians aged 17 years or more without confirmed diabetes across six primary health care sites in the Kimberley region of WA between September 2011 and November 2013.

They found that participants were significantly more likely to receive a definitive test result within 7 days using the HbA1c test, and were more likely to be followed up if an initial result was abnormal.

Further, HbA1c tests detected diabetes in more people than did glucose testing.

“Eight participants subsequently diagnosed with diabetes (four using the HbA1c test, four with additional oral glucose tolerance tests that would not normally have been requested) were incorrectly classified as normal by the glucose algorithm”, the researchers wrote.

“No participants with normal HbA1c measurements were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes.”

Marley and her colleagues concluded that “the availability of immediate results is likely to further improve diagnosis of diabetes in remote areas and the timeliness of starting treatment”.

“Our study shows that adopting the Kimberley HbA1c algorithm may simplify the testing process in previously undiagnosed individuals and provide timelier and more accurate diagnosis of diabetes for Aboriginal people and other high-risk remote populations in Australia and elsewhere in the world.”