Improving detection and prevention of undiagnosed diabetes in African-descent populations



Undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes is often blamed on the combined effects of low health literacy, limited early symptoms, and a lack of access to care. However, an underappreciated factor specifically contributing to undiagnosed diabetes and health disparities among people of African descent is that traditional screening tests, such as fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c (A1C), have lower sensitivity as early markers of hyperglycemia, a hallmark sign of diabetes, than in the general population.


IRP researchers led by Anne Sumner, M.D., and David Sacks, M.D., demonstrated that the detection of hyperglycemia is markedly increased in African-descent populations by combining A1C, which is a non-fasting marker of glucose levels over time, with a novel non-fasting marker of glycemia: glycated albumin.


Earlier detection of hyperglycemia would likely reduced the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes and improve the accuracy of statistics, leading to wiser public resource allocation and better health outcomes. The IRP team’s research justifies consideration for worldwide evaluation of glycated albumin as a diagnostic test for diabetes.


Sumner AE, Duong MT, Bingham BA, Aldana PC, Ricks M, Mabundo LS, Tulloch-Reid MK, Chung ST, Sacks DB. (2016). Glycated albumin identifies prediabetes not detected by HbA1c: the Africans in America study. Clin Chem. 62(11):1524-1532.