May 5, 2006 -- People with diabetesdiabetes who visit their health care providers have gotten better at managing their disease over the last five years, according to a new report.
Researchers say it's a bit of good news that comes at a time when the number of people with diabetes is growing at an alarming rate, largely due to expanding waistlines and obesityobesity.
"What makes these data so interesting is that they suggest that over time, glucose control is getting better," says Nathaniel G. Clark, MD, national vice president of clinical affairs at the ADA, in a news release. "This is in direct contrast to the National Health and NutritionNutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data which suggests that diabetes control in the United States population declined through the period of the late 1990s."
Diabetes Management Getting Better
The report is based on information from more than 14 million blood tests of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) performed from 2001 to 2005 on people with diagnosed diabetes.
The HbA1c test is considered a key indicator of how well a person is managing and controlling his diabetes. The test measures the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin (the primary protein in red blood cells) and indicates the average blood sugar level over the previous two to three months.
Researchers found that the number of blood test results that showed poor diabetes control decreased by 26% from early 2001 to late 2005.
The ADA recommends that people with diabetes maintain their hemoglobin A1c levels below 7%.
The report showed that the average hemoglobin A1c test decreased from 7.8% of total hemoglobin in January 2001 to 7.2% in December 2005.
"Possible explanations are greater awareness of both the use of and goals for HbA1c, frequency of HbA1c testing, and better use of available medications," says Clark.