Friday, April 14, 2006

Diabetes, A1C control....and your gums

In a strongly worded review published in theThe Journal of the American Medical Association the head of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center urges physicians and patients to better use the blood-testing tools at hand to manage the disease and prevent most of its dire impact on the heart, kidneys, nerves and vision.

"The message is, we have tools that are very accurate, but they don't work at all if they are not used properly," says Christopher Saudek, MD, a former president of the American Diabetes Association and lead author of the article. "If the goal of treatment is to prevent morbidity and mortality, we need to do a better job of monitoring our patients, as well as advising them."

Researchers reviewed data from studies conducted between 1976 and 2005 and concluded that both self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) and more precise physician testing of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) can help diabetics take proper control of their blood sugar levels and successfully manage their disease.

"Assessing glycemia in diabetes can be a challenge, but approaches are available that promote successful management of blood glucose and may lead to a significant reduction in incidence and in medical treatment of diabetes."

And, more interesting news for diabetics:

Results of a new study support the hypothesis that periodontal therapy may improve metabolic control (lower HbA1c) in diabetic patients.

The results suggest that periodontal therapy may reduce a diabetic patient's HbA1c count by as much as 20% at three and six months following treatment. "We found that conventional treatment for chronic moderate generalized periodontitis, which included a simple, non-surgical procedure called Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) lowered the study group's HbA1c count from 7.2 to 5.7," said the study authors.

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