The most recent report by the WHO, published in this month’s edition of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice has concluded that HbA1c machines can now be used as a diagnostic test for diabetes, with an HbA1c of 6.5% being recommended as the cut point for diagnosing diabetes.
This recommendation is supported by and now aligns the major diabetes organisations including the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). A statement has now been published by the Presidents of each organisation.
The potential utility of HbA1c in the diagnosis of diabetes has been considered by a number of WHO consultations and each had concluded that it should not be adopted as a diagnostic test because the challenges of measurement accuracy outweighed the convenience of its use.
The current WHO pronouncement means that there is global consensus on the potential role of HbA1c as a diagnostic option while continuing to emphasise the limitations of HbA1c testing and the processes which need to be adopted before it can become a more widely applicable practical reality.