Glycemic Metrics and Targets in Kidney Disease

  • Joshua J. NeumillerEmail author
  • Irl B. Hirsch


While intensive glycemic management has been shown to delay the onset and progression of kidney disease, optimal glycemic targets in the setting of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remain controversial. A variety of factors associated with kidney disease and/or the uremic state can impact the accuracy and interpretability of currently available glycemic measures. Alterations in erythrocyte survival time, hemoglobin concentrations, and other factors likely bias glycated hemoglobin (A1C) values to lower levels in people with DKD, yet A1C remains a key monitoring parameter recommended to inform the glycemic management of people with DKD. The optimal A1C target for patients with DKD, however, remains controversial. Evidence suggests that overly aggressive A1C targets in advanced DKD may contribute to increased risk of mortality. Several observational studies have reported a “U-shaped” relationship between A1C and mortality, with current epidemiological data suggesting that relatively conservative A1C targets may be desirable. Patients with DKD are additionally known to be at particular risk for hypoglycemia, and hypoglycemia avoidance is an important priority when establishing glycemic targets. Given the emphasis on individualized glycemic targets in all people with diabetes, and when considering the interpretive difficulties at play in the setting of DKD, patient-derived glucose data obtained via self-monitoring of blood glucose remains a crucial tool to consolidate therapeutic goals. With additional study and experience, other current and evolving methods of glycemic assessment may prove beneficial in the management of overall glycemic control in the setting of kidney disease.


1,5-Anhydroglucitol Blood glucose Continuous glucose monitoring Diabetes Fructosamine Glycated albumin Glycemic control Glycemic targets Hemoglobin A1c Kidney disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacotherapyWashington State UniversitySpokaneUSA
  2. 2.Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and NutritionUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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