By Keith Binion, B.S., CPhT, pharmacy technician program director, MedCerts, Livonia
For those who are faced with the challenge of managing their blood sugar, glucometers have proven to be important and useful tools when used correctly. Although used daily, they may still only touch the tip of the iceberg as to what underlying problems can really be going on.
To identify and diagnose long term information, prescribers might consider administering what’s called an A1C test. This test provides insight as to how a current treatment plan is working, and what modifications can be made.
But what is A1C and its relationship to diabetes? A1C is abbreviated for glycated hemoglobin. Glycated hemoglobin is the result of glucose (a sugar) binding to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells. As large amounts of glucose enter the blood stream, the amounts of glycated hemoglobin increase.
Rising blood glucose levels are directly proportional to the percentage of glycated hemoglobin. Thus, the A1C Test is used as a means for measuring diabetes control. A normal A1C level is considered below 5.7 percent. Someone who might be classified as pre-diabetic would have an A1C reading in the range of 5.7 to 6.4 percent. A person with an A1C of 6.4 or higher is diagnosed as Type II Diabetes.
If an individual is diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type II Diabetes, it’s not the end of the world. While diabetes can be a bit challenging to manage, it can be brought under control. Ultimately, to be successful a person must be committed and disciplined to lifestyle modifications. Several factors can be taken into consideration and implementing into their lifestyle:
- Adherence and compliance. When your prescriber provides you with a medication regimen, it is imperative to stick with it. While it can be challenging and frustrating, following the recommendations of your prescriber will prove beneficial in the long run.
- Exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting a membership to a gym, but finding some type of movement you can do consistently for at least 30 minutes five times a week. Activities like walking the dog or riding a bike prove to do wonders.
- Meals. Cutting back on portions, as well as the types of foods you eat, can prove to be beneficial. Eliminating sugars, such as pop and juice, is a start.
- Don’t skip. Missing meals or eating too frequently can contribute to an inconsistent blood sugar level.
- Check your sugar. Knowing your sugar level is important. It’s not wise to rely on inconsistent readings.
Making these modifications can all contribute to lowering your A1C, bringing it under control, and allow you to regain a sense of properly managing and stabilizing your sugar levels.