Scientists create better blood sugar test for diabetes

The new method can cut diagnostic errors by more than 50 per cent.

By: IANS | Washington | Published: October 6, 2016 8:06 pm
precise method for estimating blood sugar, ways to measure the blood sugar, ways to measure diabetes, indian express, indian express news Diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide and knowing accurate blood sugar averages can help them better manage the disease. (Source: Pixabay)

US researchers have developed a more precise method for estimating average blood sugar levels that can cut diagnostic errors by more than 50 per cent compared to the current widely used but sometimes inaccurate test. “What we currently deem the gold standard for estimating average blood glucose is nowhere as precise as it should be,” Xinhua news agency quoted senior investigator John Higgins at Harvard Medical School and a clinical pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital as saying.

“Our study not only pinpoints the root of the inaccuracy but also offers a way to get around it.”

Findings of the study were described recently in the US journal Science Translational Medicine, Xinhua said.

Because blood sugar varies by the hour and even by the minute, doctors use the so called A1C test as a proxy to gauge a person’s average blood glucose level over the previous three months.

The A1C test measures the amount of glycated hemoglobin, glucose that sticks to hemoglobin, or oxygen carrier, inside red blood cells, which can live in the body for only three months.

The test, however, is somewhat imprecise. It can lead to identical readings for people with different average blood sugar levels. At the same time, people with similar blood sugar levels can also end up having widely divergent results.

The team found these inaccuracies stemmed entirely from individual variations in the life span of a person’s red blood cells.

“Like a water soaked sponge that’s been sitting on the kitchen sink for days, older red blood cells tend to have absorbed more glucose, while newly produced red blood cells have less because they have not been around as long,” Higgins explained.

To eliminate the influence of age related variation, the team developed a formula that factors in the life span of a person’s red blood cells and then compared the age adjusted blood sugar estimates to estimates derived from the standard A1C test and to readouts of glucose levels measured directly by continuous glucose monitors.

The standard A1C test provided notable off target estimates in about a third of more than 200 patients whose test results were analyzed as part of the research.

By factoring in red blood cell age, however, the team reduced the error rate to one in 10.

Under the new model, patients could wear a glucose monitor for a few weeks to have their blood sugar tracked as a baseline, also allowing physicians to calculate the average age of a person’s red blood cells before having the monitor removed, the team said.

“Physicians treating recently diagnosed patients would immediately know what a patient’s red blood cell age is,” Higgins said.

“The patient’s test results can then be adjusted to factor in the red blood cell age and get a result that more accurately reflects the actual levels of blood sugar, allowing them to tailor treatment accordingly.”

Currently, diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide and knowing accurate blood sugar averages can help them better manage the disease and their risk of diabetes related complications.

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  1. K
    Oct 7, 2016 at 12:58 am
    In July of 2015. it was discovered that I got type 2 diabetes, By the end of the July month. I was given a prescription for the Metformin, I stated with the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140, Without results whatever I did, I really panicked and called my doctor. His response?? Deal with it yourself, I started to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research, Then I found Lisa’s great blog (google " HOW I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES " ) .. I read it from cover to cover and I started with the diet and by the next morning. my blood sugar was 100, Since then. I get a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s, My doctor was very surprised at the results that. the next week. he took me off the Metformin drug, I lost 35 pounds in my two month and lost more than 8 inches off my own waist as well as I can exercise twice per day and still having a lot of energy.The truth is that we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods..