When doctors test for diabetes, usually they do a finger prick and check your hemoglobin A1c levels. It is this form of hemoglobin that can tell the doctor whether you are diabetic or not. But according to a research team’s recent findings the doctors don’t have to use a finger prick to test for diabetes. The team recently found that oral blood can test for diabetes just as easily as blood found everywhere else, and often this blood can be gathered from bleeding pockets in the mouths of patients with periodontal disease.
These new findings come from the study that was conducted at NYU and was funded by the NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The results showed that blood gathered orally only varied from finger stick blood by an average of .2 points, and gave minimal false positive and false negative results. The researchers had their study published in the Journal of Periodontology and are looking forward to what these findings mean for the future of dental diagnostics.
“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 the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry.
These new findings could really be an important step to testing for diabetes, for those patients who feel more comfortable with having an oral blood sampling conducted with the dentist instead of the finger prick with the physician. This new finding may also open up testing opportunities for those who cannot or choose not to visit a regular physician.
“There is an urgent need to increase opportunities for diabetes screening and early diabetes detection,” Dr. Strauss added. “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.”
This study was actually one part of a broader initiative to start testing for major illnesses during dental visits, in order to show people that dental visits are part of the broader spectrum of full body health. the researchers are hoping to continue their studies of this form of diabetes testing.
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