For years there has been plenty of debate in the medical community over the best measure for diagnosis of diabetes, or more specifically, which test gives the most accurate assessment for that diagnosis.
For years life insurance companies have used the A1c as a measure of whether a person is pre-diabetic, diabetic, and if they are diabetic, how well controlled the situation is. The reason they have used and I think the most valid argument for the medical community to use it as a baseline is that, simply put, it is less volatile than glucose testing.
A fasting glucose test, a snapshot at best, only tells the doctor what is going on at that very second in time. It is not unusual for someone who is undeniably diabetic to be able to produce stellar fasting glucose tests. On the other hand with the A1c, it is virtually impossible to miss the fact that, on average, a person’s glucose is running well above guideline normal.
Now with the major world diabetes organizations leaning toward using the hbA1c as the default test for the medical community, patients will have quicker, more accurate diagnosis which will lead to earlier treatment intervention.
As an aside, it will also lead to a little less fuss between insurance underwriters and medical practitioners. If adopted, the guideline discussed of making an A1c of 6.5 the guideline for diagnosis of diabetes will also match up with most insurance companies that work well with diabetes as their cutoff for their best rate class offered with the disease.
Bottom line. I think anyone that has been around diabetes for long knows just how whacky single glucose readings can be. Everyone will find adoption of the A1c to be a prudent move.