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If you want to know how well you are controlling your diabetes, you have had only two options. You can check your current blood glucose level with a meter, or you can check your average over the past two or three months with an A1C test.
Now there’s a third and quite promising option—the GlycoMark test.
Reflects After-Meal BG Spikes
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration late last year, the GlycoMark test has just become available in this country. Developed by two companies in Japan, it has been used there for more than a decade.
Its greatest utility is that it can reflect blood glucose spikes after you eat, BioMarker Group President Eric Button told me recently. For people who have their diabetes under pretty good control, that can be the key to doing even better.
A recent study of 290 people with type 2 diabetes showed that high blood glucose levels after meals have a greater effect on the A1C levels of people whose diabetes is under good control than among those with poor control.
The GlycoMark test reflects an intermediate time period between that measured by a glucose meter and the A1C. It reflects your level from “one to two days to two weeks,” according to the company’s Web site. Button told me that it reflects your post-meal level over a couple of weeks, but the past couple of days count for more.
GlycoMark measures something named 1,5-anhydroglucitol, but you can call it 1,5AG for short. This 1,5AG is a simple sugar similar to glucose. But unlike other blood glucose tests, GlycoMark values decrease when serum glucose levels increase.
Available Only as a Lab Test
Right now GlycoMark is available only as a lab test. But they have had a home test in development for a couple of years, Button says.
One diabetes specialist who is already using the GlycoMark is Nancy Bohannon, MD, who conducts clinical trials from her private practice in San Francisco.
“I have great hopes for it,” Bohannon told me. “If it falls flat on its face, I will be disappointed. But if it does what it claims in a reliable and reproducible manner, the potential is tremendous. It could be even better than fructosamine.”
Whatever Became of Fructosamine Testing?
For a few years, diabetics or clinicians could use a unique meter in the home or medical office to perform the blood test known as fructosamine, which measured the average blood glucose level for the past two or three weeks.
However, LXN Corp., the company that made those meters, closed down in 2002, and right now there is no way to get a home fructosamine test.
A British company called Quotient Diagnostics is working on a new type of meter that they say will have laboratory precision and accuracy. At first, the focus will be on A1C testing, but a company representative told me that they intend to add fructosamine testing.
Jun 1, 2005
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.