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ADA: A1C Is Accurate Measure of Average Glucose

Researchers develop equation that interprets A1C value as an estimated average glucose level

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- In most patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, a simple mathematic equation allows for A1C values to be accurately expressed as estimated average glucose, according to research presented this week at the American Diabetes Association's 68th Annual Scientific Sessions in San Francisco and published online June 7 in Diabetes Care.

David M. Nathan, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues from the A1C-Derived Average Glucose (ADAG) study group assessed 507 subjects, including 268 patients with type 1 diabetes, 159 with type 2 diabetes, and 80 without diabetes from 10 international centers. During the three-month study period, they obtained about 2,700 glucose values per subject.

The researchers found a simple linear relationship between the measurement of A1C with the average glucose levels. They also found that this relationship was not significantly affected by factors such as age, sex, diabetes type, race/ethnicity or smoking status. Because the mathematic equation translates sometimes difficult-to-understand A1C values into easy-to-understand values that relate to everyday glucose monitoring, the researchers predicted that estimated average glucose will prove to be a valuable education tool.

"The findings of this large study have confirmed what smaller studies have shown and will give us confidence that A1C really does represent an average glucose because we now have a reliable formula to convert A1C into average glucose," Nathan said in a statement. "While estimated average glucose will not replace A1C, physicians will be able to obtain reports both in A1C units of glycated hemoglobin and estimated average glucose units of milligrams per deciliter or millimols per liter, depending on the country, and choose which to use in clinical situations."

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