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Room for Improvement in Knowledge of ABC Levels, Goals

Participant knowledge of their last ABC level only correlates with meeting targets for LDL level

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Many individuals with diabetes do not know their last hemoglobin A1C (A1C), blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (ABC levels), although the correlation between such knowledge and meeting targets for ABC control is unclear, according to a study published online April 12 in Diabetes Care.

Sarah Stark Casagrande, Ph.D., of Social and Scientific Systems in Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 1,233 adults with self-reported diabetes who participated in the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The last ABC levels and goals specified by physicians were self-reported and were not validated through medical records.

The researchers found that 48 percent of participants knew their last A1C level, 63 percent knew their last blood pressure level, and 22 percent knew their last LDL cholesterol level. Non-Hispanic whites had the greatest knowledge of their ABC levels and physician-specified ABC goals, which was also significantly higher among participants with more education and income. ABC level knowledge was lowest in Mexican-Americans. Nineteen, 47, and 41 percent of participants reported that their provider did not specify an A1C, blood pressure, or LDL cholesterol goal, respectively. Eighty-three percent of those who reported having an A1C <7.0 percent actually had A1C <7.0 percent. Participant knowledge of their last ABC level was only associated with meeting ABC goals in the case of people who knew their last LDL cholesterol level (P = 0.046 for A1C <7.0 percent).

"Ample opportunity exists to improve ABC knowledge," the authors write. "Diabetes education should include behavior change components in addition to information on ABC clinical measures."

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