The relationship between long-term glycaemic control and diabetic nephropathy.Q J Med 1992; 82(297):53-61QJ
Urine albumin excretion was studied by two widely accepted methods in 210 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and related to the mean of serial glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1) measurements made every 3 months during the previous 6 years. Microalbuminuria (albumin excretion rate > 20 micrograms/min) was present in 9.5 per cent of patients when defined by a 24-hour collection and 8.1 per cent of patients when defined by a timed overnight urine sample. Those with microalbuminuria, as estimated from a timed overnight urine sample, had a longer duration of diabetes but otherwise did not differ in age, duration of diabetes or arterial blood pressure from patients whose albumin excretion rate was 20 micrograms/min or less irrespective of the method of urine collection. The mean and the most recent HbA1 levels differed significantly between the normal and the microalbuminuric groups when defined by the 24-hour albumin excretion rate (p < 0.001, p < 0.01), but no significant difference between these groups was found when albumin excretion rates were calculated from the timed overnight urine sample. Albumin excretion rate, examined in relation to mean HbA1, increased significantly with worsening glycaemic control whether measured over 24 hours or overnight (p < 0.05, p < 0.01). These findings support an association between glycaemic control and microalbuminuria, but the correlation is weak, dependent on the method of urine collection and is just as good for a relatively short-term as for a long-term measure of average blood glucose.