The relationship between repetitive hemoglobin A1 values and daily blood glucose tests performed by 20 insulin-dependent diabetic outpatients was assessed over a six-week period using a modified reflectance meter capable of storing blood glucose determinations automatically. An average of four and a half determinations per subject per day was recorded with a range of average blood glucose values between 82 ± 2 mg/dl and 316 ± 5 mg/dl (mean ± SE). The relationship between average blood glucose and hemoglobin A1 values was significant when hemoglobin A1 values at the end of the six-week period were correlated with the mean blood glucose level over that period (r = 0.55, p <0.02), but improved when a more remote hemoglobin A1 value obtained at 10 weeks was used (r = 0.64, p <0.005). Hemoglobin A1 values covering two-week intervals were extremely poor in reflecting average glycemia. The average fasting blood glucose level in these subjects was highly correlated with the overall daily blood glucose values (r = 0.89, p <0.0001), although the coefficients of variation of these parameters averaged 43 ± 3 percent and 47 ± 2 percent, respectively, and were greater than that of the hemoglobin A1 values over six weeks (10 ± 2 percent). It is concluded that labile blood glucose control in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes is accurately reflected by the average fasting blood glucose level, although multiple determinations must be employed. Satisfactory assessment may be made by use of hemoglobin A1 value provided that the hemoglobin A1 determination follows a sufficiently long period of time, presumably related to the turnover of glycosylated hemoglobin.
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