Many diabetics fail to meet testing guidelines

Most people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes know that regular testing is a critical part of their ability to control their condition. It is important for them to monitor blood sugar levels to ensure that they do not rise to dangerous levels.

However, new evidence suggests that a large percentage of diabetics may not be getting the supplemental medical tests they need to check whether or not they are doing a good job of controlling their glucose levels over time.

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Hawaii recently found that the number of diabetics who receive HbA1c testing as frequently as is recommended is notably low. The test measures long-term blood sugar control. Additionally, the study revealed that eye exams, which could reveal common complications of poor glucose regulation, are often done infrequently.

For the study, researchers reviewed survey results from more than 1,500 diabetic children. The results showed that only 68 percent followed HbA1c testing recommendations, while 66 percent followed guidelines for eye exams.

The researchers wrote in their report, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, that these numbers may seem adequate, but that anything short of full compliance with testing recommendations could put diabetics at risk for serious health complications.

“Although there was relatively good adherence to American Diabetes Association-recommended guidelines for most indicators, efforts are needed to improve rates of HbA1c testing and eye examinations, particularly among older youths,” the researchers wrote.

The American Diabetes Association says that individuals with normally controlled diabetes should receive HbA1c testing at least twice each year, depending on the type of treatment they are on. The test is generally considered an important part of managing diabetes because it indicates blood sugar control over time. This can help individuals understand whether or not they need to make lifestyle changes to improve their glucose control.

Some individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may feel as though their daily spot checks of blood sugar are enough to manage their disease. However, adhering to recommendations for supplemental tests may enable them to improve their condition even further.