Keeping blood glucose at near-normal levels helps people with diabetes avoid long-term complications, which can affect the eyes, nerves and kidneys. Testing blood glucose lets you see how well your medications, eating plan and exercise routine are working to achieve this goal.
Self-monitoring using a blood glucose monitor should be performed each day, at scheduled times determined by your healthcare team. This test shows daily changes in blood glucose levels. Here’s how to get the most from your self-monitoring:
• Know your monitor. Select a low-maintenance monitor that doesn’t require cleaning or complicated calibration.
• Be sure to get an adequate blood drop, and avoid extreme temperatures while testing. Identify which conditions may cause inaccurate readings for your monitor.
• Practice using your monitor with your doctor or pharmacist. If you don’t know which monitor to choose, ask your pharmacist. When you have questions, you’ll know where to find help!
• Know what actions you’re supposed to take as a result of your blood glucose reading.
• Enter your results in logbook, or select a monitor that allows your to enter data electronically. Bring your log or monitor to your doctor’s appointments.
If your blood glucose value is abnormally high or low, or you’re experiencing symptoms of high or low blood sugar, call your doctor.
The A1c (formerly referred to as HbA1c) test gives information about your blood glucose levels over the past three months, and is usually performed by a lab. It measures the linking of glucose to red blood cells. The higher your average blood glucose, the higher your A1c. For people with diabetes, your value should be below 7% to reduce your risk of complications. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you have an A1c test performed two to four times per year.
Fructosamine This is a lab test that examines the linking of glucose to protein in the blood. It provides a two-to three-week overview of glucose control.