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Blood Sugar Testing Basics

By Steve Freed, R.PH., CDE 2 years ago 1078 Views No comments

Understanding your blood sugar
There are two ways to find out how you are doing with your diabetes: the first is to check your blood glucose at home with a meter, and the second is to get a blood test called a hemoglobin A1C, or A1C.

What is an A1C test?
An A1C blood test is one of the most important tests for people with diabetes. This test tells the average of all the glucose results over the last 2-3 months. This is different than your blood glucose reading on your monitor, which tells you how you are doing just for that moment in time. So if you check your blood sugar with your meter at 8AM, that only tells you how you are doing for that second in time.

What does the A1C measure?
The test measures the amount of glucose that attaches to hemoglobin, part of red blood cells. As the hemo­globin travels through the bloodstream, it picks up glucose; the more glucose in the blood, the more glucose attaches to the hemoglobin. For most people with diabetes, the A1C should be less than 6.5% or as close to the non-diabetes range as safely possible. An A1C of 6.5% means that your average blood glucose readings are 140mg/dL.

Prediabetes is an A1c of 5.6 to 6.4% and the definition of diabetes is an A1c of 6.5% or higher.

How often should the A1C be checked?
Have your A1C checked between two to four times a year. You should check them more often if you are altering your treatment plan such as a changes to medications, diet or physical activity.

Make sure you know your results. So, Why should you lower your A1C?
Lowering your A1C level may greatly reduce your risk for developing diabetes complications. For every one point you lower your A1C, you lower your chances of getting diabetes complications by up to 35%!

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