NIDDK to Launch New Information Campaign: Important Information about Diabetes Blood Tests
The NIDDK is launching a new information campaign directed at diabetics of African, Mediterranean or Southeast Asian Heritage outlining the specific need for testing average blood glucose.
Schmalfeldt: Diabetes afflicts nearly 21 million people in the United States, and according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, that burden is being felt disproportionately by minorities — including African Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. This is the same segment of the population that is at a higher risk of having a blood hemoglobin variant, such as sickle cell trait. That's why the NIDDK is launching a new information campaign directed at diabetics of African, Mediterranean or Southeast Asian Heritage outlining the specific need for testing average blood glucose. The A1C test has become an essential tool in diabetes care because it shows the average level of blood glucose control in the previous two to three months. However, for patients with one of these hemoglobin variants, some methods for measuring blood glucose are more accurate than others. We get this explanation from Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the NIDDK.
Rodgers: Well, the important issue that we're trying to address with this new information campaign is that in patients with diabetes and a variant form of hemoglobin, some of the methods measuring the A1C level are more accurate than others. For example, if patients see a significant discrepancy between the A1C result that normally goes out to a reference laboratory to the values that one does on a daily basis in actually looking at your sugar that may be a good indication that the A1C is inaccurate. And in the appropriate populations that are in high risk of having these hemoglobin variants, they should make their physicians aware of that. And what we're trying to do in this campaign is to both educate the patients about the possibility of those discrepant results, as well as the providers to let them be aware that certain tests that they obtain from reference laboratories may be inaccurate in these particular circumstances.
Schmalfeldt: The NIDDK offers two booklets that take aim at this potential problem. One is written for patients, the other for physicians. Both are available online at www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Griffin Rodgers
Topic: Diabetes, Sickle Cell