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Two Methods of Glycemia Monitoring Evaluated

Researchers examine self-monitoring of blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c testing

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Two tests for glycemia in diabetes offer different ways of monitoring the disease and helping to prevent complications, according to a clinical review published in the April 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher D. Saudek, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed studies of self-monitoring of blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing from 1976 to 2005.

The researchers report that regular self-monitoring of blood glucose gives an "acceptably accurate" picture of plasma glucose levels to monitor glycemia, particularly in patients on insulin. HbA1c testing is best used to forecast and lower diabetes complications risks, the report indicates.

"Assessing glycemia in diabetes can be a challenge, but approaches are available that promote successful management of blood glucose and may thereby lead to a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality related to diabetes," the authors write.

In an editorial, Michael Brownlee, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., and a colleague report that "considering these facts, an important issue is whether greater risk reduction of diabetic complications can be achieved without further lowering of HbA1c."

Saudek has received research support, lecturing fees and supplies from Lifescan Inc., Medtronic MiniMed and DexCom Inc.

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