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Medical News and Perspectives
November 21, 2007

Monitoring Glycemic Control in Diabetes

JAMA. 2007;298(19):2252. doi:10.1001/jama.298.19.2252

A new worldwide standardized reference measure for glycemic control in patients with diabetes is expected to improve communication between patients and physicians as well as create a common language for researchers studying ways to treat and prevent the disease.

Maintaining glycemic control is important for patients with diabetes as high blood-glucose levels are associated with greater morbidity and mortality risk. Patients with diabetes typically self-monitor their blood glucose levels up to several times per day using a simple blood test that provides glucose readings measured in milligrams per deciliter. The measurement that is currently widely used by clinicians to assess patient glycemic control, glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), is a value based on a mixture of glycated hemoglobins and is expressed as a percentage. These differences in reporting can lead to miscommunication between patients and physicians, which will be clarified in the future by providing both of them with measurements of “average blood glucose,” based on the new standard.

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