Background: Diabetes has been defined on the basis of different biomarkers, including fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-h plasma glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test (2hOGTT), and HbA<inf>1c</inf>. We assessed the effect of different diagnostic definitions on both the population prevalence of diabetes and the classification of previously undiagnosed individuals as having diabetes versus not having diabetes in a pooled analysis of data from population-based health examination surveys in different regions. Methods: We used data from 96 population-based health examination surveys that had measured at least two of the biomarkers used for defining diabetes. Diabetes was defined using HbA<inf>1c</inf> (HbA<inf>1c</inf> â¥6Â·5% or history of diabetes diagnosis or using insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs) compared with either FPG only or FPG-or-2hOGTT definitions (FPG â¥7Â·0 mmol/L or 2hOGTT â¥11Â·1 mmol/L or history of diabetes or using insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs). We calculated diabetes prevalence, taking into account complex survey design and survey sample weights. We compared the prevalences of diabetes using different definitions graphically and by regression analyses. We calculated sensitivity and specificity of diabetes diagnosis based on HbA<inf>1c</inf> compared with diagnosis based on glucose among previously undiagnosed individuals (ie, excluding those with history of diabetes or using insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs). We calculated sensitivity and specificity in each survey, and then pooled results using a random-effects model. We assessed the sources of heterogeneity of sensitivity by meta-regressions for study characteristics selected a priori. Findings: Population prevalence of diabetes based on FPG-or-2hOGTT was correlated with prevalence based on FPG alone (r=0Â·98), but was higher by 2-6 percentage points at different prevalence levels. Prevalence based on HbA<inf>1c</inf> was lower than prevalence based on FPG in 42Â·8% of age-sex-survey groups and higher in another 41Â·6%; in the other 15Â·6%, the two definitions provided similar prevalence estimates. The variation across studies in the relation between glucose-based and HbA<inf>1c</inf>-based prevalences was partly related to participants' age, followed by natural logarithm of per person gross domestic product, the year of survey, mean BMI, and whether the survey population was national, subnational, or from specific communities. Diabetes defined as HbA<inf>1c</inf> 6Â·5% or more had a pooled sensitivity of 52Â·8% (95% CI 51Â·3-54Â·3%) and a pooled specificity of 99Â·74% (99Â·71-99Â·78%) compared with FPG 7Â·0 mmol/L or more for diagnosing previously undiagnosed participants; sensitivity compared with diabetes defined based on FPG-or-2hOGTT was 30Â·5% (28Â·7-32Â·3%). None of the preselected study-level characteristics explained the heterogeneity in the sensitivity of HbA<inf>1c</inf> versus FPG. Interpretation: Different biomarkers and definitions for diabetes can provide different estimates of population prevalence of diabetes, and differentially identify people without previous diagnosis as having diabetes. Using an HbA<inf>1c</inf>-based definition alone in health surveys will not identify a substantial proportion of previously undiagnosed people who would be considered as having diabetes using a glucose-based test.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||THE LANCET DIABETES & ENDOCRINOLOGY|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism