Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to use glucose for energy, it is important for persons with diabetes to routinely check their blood sugar during the day.
The most common method of testing blood sugars is using a glucometer.
A glucometer measures the blood sugar at a specific point in time.
Using a small sharp needle called a lancet, a person pierces one finger. A small drop of blood is placed on the test strip which the glucometer processes the blood sugar. The blood sugar level is digitally displayed within seconds on the glucometer.
There are several different glucometer manufacturers who use different test strips. Your insurance carrier will verify the test strips the insurance covers.
Many people check their blood sugar first thing in the morning, before meals and at bedtime. Your diabetes provider may make recommendations for additional blood sugar testing if you are making changes to your medications, activity or diet.
It is very important that you record your blood sugar measurements. Many persons use a blood glucose log such as posted on the American Diabetes Association website.
Please bring your blood glucose log or your glucometer with you when you visit your diabetes provider.
While the glucometer tests blood sugar at a specific moment in time, the Hemoglobin A1C reports the average blood glucose the previous two to three months.
The Hemoglobin A1 blood test is drawn and processed at a laboratory.
The Hemoglobin A1C test measures the percentage of the hemoglobin in red blood cells that are coated with sugar.
Like a sugary drink spilled on the floor that becomes sticky, as glucose floats in the blood for a long period of time, glucose sticks to our red blood cells. Hemoglobin A1C measures how many of our red-blood cells have glucose stuck to them.
The following chart is a comparison of A1C to estimated average glucose readings you would get from a glucometer.
The A1C test is a common blood test to monitor how well you are managing your diabetes. The higher your A1C is, the higher the risk of complications from diabetes.