To see how your work is paying off, track your blood glucose levels with a blood glucose meter. A blood glucose meter allows you to check your blood glucose level by yourself at any time of the day. Using the meter regularly can help you see how meal choices and exercise affect your blood glucose level. Over time, the patterns you see can help you make decisions what to eat, when to exercise, or how much medication to take to help manage your blood glucose level. This knowledge can give you more flexibility in your day-to-day activities, too. You can change your schedule around eat at a later time or exercise more than usual and still keep your blood glucose levels on target.
Another way to check your progress is to have your doctor perform an A1C test (also know as a glycated hemoglobin or HbAlC test). The A1C test is different from the blood glucose meter because it can measure your average blood glucose management over the past two to three months. Thats because red blood cells live for about 120 days. So, if you took an A1C test on March 1, it would tell you how well you did, on average, with your glucose management in December, January, and February.
In people who dont have diabetes, about 5% of all their hemoglobin is glycated, or linked with glucose. In people with diabetes, the number is higher as high as 25% if blood glucose levels are well above normal. People with type 2 diabetes should have an A1C test done twice each year or more. Your diabetes care team will let you know how often you should be tested.
Estimated average glucose (eAG) numbers are now being given alongside A1C levels by many health care providers. The eAG is an estimate of your average blood glucose derived from your A1C and helps to make the comparison between your blood glucose and your A1C easier to understand. The eAG recordings will be reported in mg/dl, just like a blood glucose result is recorded.
All three kinds of testing are important. The blood glucose meter lets you learn more about how your choices affect your glucose management, and helps you make day-to-day decisions. The A1C test lets you and your doctor see the big picture, to see if your glucose management efforts are working over time.