Diabetes affects over 34 million Americans. The risk factors differ for each. For type 1, family history and age raise your risk of developing it. With type 2, obesity, family history, inactivity, and prediabetes plays a role. No matter the type, managing your diabetes is an essential part of living a healthy life. The A1C test and daily blood glucose monitoring are the main ways.
The A1C test is a measurement of the average blood glucose level over three months. Those with diabetes aim to stay below 7%, and is recommended to be done at least twice a year. It is also referred to as hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells. The A1C test is based on this attachment.
The A1C test can also be used to diagnose diabetes and prevent prediabetes.
Daily Glucose Monitoring
Daily blood glucose monitoring (BGM) is done using a sample of your blood and putting it onto a disposable strip inserted into a small machine that reads it. The meter reads the amount of glucose in your blood at the time the test is taken. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to check your sugars, and it may need to be done several times a day. Type 1 diabetics typically take theirs more often, anywhere from 4 to 10 times a day. In addition, they may also opt for a continuous glucose monitor. These devices monitor your sugar every few minutes through a sensor inserted under the skin.
Testing daily can help you monitor blood sugar levels that are high or low, track overall progress towards treatment goals, and learn how diet and exercise affect sugar levels. Most experts recommend blood glucose levels to remain between 80 and 130 before meals. 2 hours after meals should be less than 180.
To recap, the A1C test and daily blood glucose monitoring are essential to managing all diabetes forms. Monitoring your diabetes daily with your glucose meter will help you identify impacts on your sugar levels done by food and exercise. It can also help you identify low or high blood sugars therefore, you can treat them immediately and avoid serious complications. The A1C reading helps tie it together to make sure those affected with diabetes are on the right treatment path.
Clinical research studies and the volunteers who participate in them helped bring us the various methods we use today to manage diabetes. More work is needed to continue improving the healthcare of this disease. To learn more about our diabetes studies here at DGDC, visit our research webpage to see how you can get involved, or call us at (210) 614-8612.