By: David Mendosa
If you want to know how well you arecontrolling your diabetes, you have had onlytwo options. You can check your currentblood glucose level with a meter, or you cancheck your average over the past two orthree months with an A1C test.
Now there’s a third and quite promisingoption—the GlycoMark test.
Reflects After-Meal BG Spikes
Approved by the Food and Drug Administrationlate last year, the GlycoMark testhas just become available in this country.Developed by two companies in Japan, it hasbeen used there for more than a decade.
Its greatest utility is that it can reflect bloodglucose spikes after you eat, BioMarkerGroup President Eric Button told me recently.For people who have their diabetes underpretty good control, that can be the key todoing even better.
A recent study of 290 people with type 2diabetes showed that high blood glucoselevels after meals have a greater effect on theA1C levels of people whose diabetes is undergood control than among those with poorcontrol.
The GlycoMark test reflects an intermediatetime period between that measured by aglucose meter and the A1C. It reflects yourlevel from “one to two days to two weeks,”according to the company’s Web site. Buttontold me that it reflects your post-meal levelover a couple of weeks, but the past coupleof days count for more.
GlycoMark measures something named 1,5-anhydroglucitol, but you can call it 1,5AG forshort. This 1,5AG is a simple sugar similar toglucose. But unlike other blood glucose tests,GlycoMark values decrease when serumglucose levels increase.
Available Only as a Lab Test
Right now GlycoMark is available only as alab test. But they have had a home test indevelopment for a couple of years, Buttonsays.
One diabetes specialist who is already usingthe GlycoMark is Nancy Bohannon, MD,who conducts clinical trials from her privatepractice in San Francisco.
“I have great hopes for it,” Bohannontold me. “If it falls flat on its face, I will bedisappointed. But if it does what it claimsin a reliable and reproducible manner, thepotential is tremendous. It could be evenbetter than fructosamine.”
Whatever Became of Fructosamine Testing?
For a few years, diabetics or clinicians could usea unique meter in the home or medical office toperform the blood test known as fructosamine, whichmeasured the average blood glucose level for the pasttwo or three weeks.
However, LXN Corp., the company that made thosemeters, closed down in 2002, and right now there isno way to get a home fructosamine test.
A British company called Quotient Diagnostics isworking on a new type of meter that they say willhave laboratory precision and accuracy. At first,the focus will be on A1C testing, but a companyrepresentative told me that they intend to addfructosamine testing.