Earlier, the only way to assess diabetes control was by testing for the presence of sugar in an individual's urine. Today there are numerous, far more accurate ways to test blood glucose levels, including the non-invasive A1C method which measures average blood glucose levels over a three-month period. Although the way diabetics test their blood glucose levels has gone through dramatic changes over the past 50 years, there is still a long way to go, said researchers.
Fred Whitehouse, division head emeritus at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, said, "This gives us a nice marker for showing whether a person is on the right road or not. There has been a lot of change, most of it for the better. But what people want is a cure and we don't have that yet."
Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, said, "Despite the enormous growth in our understanding of diabetes and its complications, we are still only able to manage the disease. The reason diabetes is a serious health problem is because of the complications."
Michael Brownlee from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Diabetes Research Center said, "If there were no complications, diabetes would be like hypothyroidism and other easily managed diseases. You would take a tablet to replace the hormone and everything would be fine. New treatments must provide optimal glucose and metabolic control without the risk of hypoglycemia and complications of diabetes should become historical memories. Also, every person with diabetes needs to create a system for remembering and dealing with his or her own treatment."
During a special symposium held recently at the American Diabetes Association's 75th scientific sessions, the authors emphasized, "The next 50 years must elucidate the mechanisms by which both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes occur, along with those critical steps at which we might intervene to prevent disease."