A More Accurate Diabetes Test? Yes!

Accurate testing is a vital part of diabetes management for millions of people around the world.

Unfortunately, the medical community has yet to master a perfectly accurate A1C test – because the test looks at a patient's average blood sugar over a three month time span, several aspects can influence the results and make them inaccurate. In fact, researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that “the true average glucose concentration of a nondiabetic and a poorly controlled diabetic may differ by less than 15 mg/dL, but patients with identical (A1C) values may have true average glucose concentrations that differ by more than 60 mg/dL.”

However, it looks like those variations might soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to the Harvard research team, a new, more accurate diabetes test is currently in development.

Blood Sugar and Red Blood Cells

Through a study conducted on over 200 people with diabetes, scientists were not only able to reduce inaccuracies in the A1C test, but they also located the root cause of these inaccuracies in the first place. The blame, according to senior investigator John Higgins, lies with a patient'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,” Higgins explained.

When Higgins and his team conducted A1C tests on their study participants initially, they found that significant errors in their result in one of every three patients. However, once they adjusted their results to account for blood cell age, they found the rate of error was sharply reduced – down to one in every 10!

The researchers hope that this updated method for A1C testing helps people with diabetes get better, more accurate results at their regular checkups, and that this method eventually becomes the gold standard in diabetes testing.

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