Charity casts doubt on call for glucose scores

Proposals for 'estimated average glucose' values to be given to patients have been criticised by Diabetes UK.

HbA1c results may be converted into units for self-testing (Photograph: SPL)
HbA1c results may be converted into units for self-testing (Photograph: SPL)

An international group of diabetes academics has suggested it 'may be advantageous' to convert patients' HbA1c results into an 'average glucose' level.

But Diabetes UK care adviser Libby Dowling said that using estimated average glucose values would 'serve only to confuse people with diabetes, which could be detrimental to their diabetes management and overall health'. She said the charity had 'grave concerns' about the research behind calls for estimated average glucose values.

'There is not enough of it and it has largely been conducted on a white population,' she said.

'We need further research, especially in different ethnic populations, children and during pregnancy.'

A coalition including the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation and the American Diabetes Association backed estimated average glucose values in a public statement last week.

'The use of an estimated average glucose in discussion with an individual patient may add to the consultation process, and the availability of such estimation may be advantageous,' the group said.

The statement acknowledges there is no consensus on how these estimates should be made available. Agreement would have to be made at a local level on how values should be calculated and provided to patients.

The group also recommended that dual reporting of HbA1c units in journals and other academic materials should continue.

Although mmol/mol units are replacing percentages worldwide, for many years researchers will still be referring to trials using the old percentage units, the group said.

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