Study: Blood from periodontal disease can be used to screen for diabetes

NEW YORK — Oral blood samples drawn from periodontal inflammation can be used to measure HbA1C levels, a factor that indicates a patient's diabetes status, according to a New York University study.

An NYU nursing-dental research team conducted a one-year study through which paired samples of oral and finger-stick blood were taken from 75 patients with periodontal disease at the NYU College of Dentistry. A reading of 6.3 or greater in the oral sample corresponded to a finger stick reading of 6.5 in identifying the diabetes range, with minimal false positive and false negative results. According to guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association, an HbA1C reading of 6.5 or more indicates a value in the diabetes range.

The findings were published in November 2011 in the Journal of Periodontology.

"In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening — an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status," said Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU's Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry and the study's principal investigator. "There is an urgent need to increase opportunities for diabetes screening and early diabetes detection. The issue of undiagnosed diabetes is especially critical because early treatment and secondary prevention efforts may help to prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes that are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased levels of mortality risk."


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