How Is The A1c Test Used After Diagnosis Of Diabetes
Your health care professional may use the A1C test to set your treatment goals, modify therapy, and monitor your diabetes management.
Experts recommend that people with diabetes have an A1C test at least twice a year.4 Health care professionals may check your A1C more often if you arent meeting your treatment goals.4
How To Do A Finger
Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
- Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
- Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
- Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
- Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
- Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
- You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.
Can Test Results Be Wrong
In some cases, cholesterol test results can be wrong. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that one common method for calculating LDL cholesterol levels often produces inaccurate results.
Improper fasting, medications, human error, and a variety of other factors can cause your test to produce false-negative or false-positive results. Testing both your HDL and LDL levels typically produces more accurate results than checking your LDL alone.
High cholesterol can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Lowering high levels of LDL in your blood can help you avoid problems with your heart and blood vessels.
To help lower your cholesterol levels:
- Quit smoking tobacco and limit your alcohol consumption.
- Avoid high-fat and high-sodium foods, while maintaining a well-balanced diet. Eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy products, and lean sources of protein.
- Exercise regularly. Try to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, as well as two sessions of muscle strengthening activities.
Your doctor may put you on a therapeutic lifestyle changes or TLC diet. Under this meal plan, only 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. It also requires you to get less than 200 mg of cholesterol from your food each day.
Some foods help your digestive tract absorb less cholesterol. For example, your doctor may encourage you to eat more:
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How Is The Triglyceride Level Test Performed
The test uses a blood sample that a laboratory will analyze. A healthcare provider will draw blood from a vein in the front of your elbow or the back of your hand. Theyll follow these steps to get the blood sample:
A portable machine can also perform this test. The machine collects a very small sample of blood from a finger stick and analyzes your triglycerides as part of a lipid panel. You can often find this type of test at mobile clinics or health fairs.
In addition, you can buy a portable machine to monitor your triglycerides at home. Another way to monitor your triglycerides at home is to mail a sample of blood to a laboratory using a prepared kit. You should talk to your doctor to see if either of these at-home tests is a good option for you.
You may feel moderate pain or discomfort from the blood test. However, there are a few risks associated with giving a blood sample. They include:
- excessive bleeding
The following are the basic categories of results for triglyceride levels:
Hypertriglyceridemia is the medical term for elevated triglycerides in the blood.
- a stroke as a result of atherosclerosis
What To Expect During Tests
While fasting for blood tests is important, there are other things to know as well. Here is exactly what happens during different tests. Take cholesterol test for example:
A blood test ordered to check your cholesterol levels is usually done in the morning to get accurate results. A lab assistant will clean the puncture site, insert a needle, and draw some blood from a vein. They will also wrap an elastic band around your upper arm before inserting the needle this helps your veins to pop out a bit. After they collect the sample, they will cover the puncture site with a bandage. It usually takes a couple of minutes for the whole procedure to complete.
You do not need to take special care after your test. You can even drive and resume your normal activities immediately after the test. If you have been fasting for the last 12 hours, bring a snack with you to eat after the test. Your doctor will share the test results with you and explain what different values mean. If they find anything abnormal, they may ask you to have another test in a few weeks or months time.
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Blood Sugar Level After 30 Minutes:
About half an hour after a meal, the digestive tract works in full swing to digest and absorb the nutrients taken during the meal. So, the proteins, carbs and fats are broken down by different digestive enzymes and are gradually absorbed in the body.
The blood is the carrier of these nutrients and it transports them throughout the body to supply energy to the different organs. The blood glucose level at this time is generally at its peak.
Using The Same Finger All The Time
People choose to use the same finger and the same spot in part because everyone has a favorite, says Uelmen, and also because calluses build up and cut down on the discomfort. But varying your fingers is better.
The solution for better diabetes control: âThe goal is to use a different finger each day or each time,â she says. Switching fingers allows the pricked finger to heal and also helps to avoid pain caused by repeat jabs.
If your blood sugar readings are generally consistent, you can even try alternate site testing, such as using the palm of your hand, if you want to get away from your fingers periodically. But simply using different spots on the same finger can also prevent soreness.
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Related Images And Video
- How the pancreas responds to low or high blood glucose levels. Image credit: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Location of the pancreas. Image credit: Don Bliss, National Cancer Institute
- The pancreas and nearby organs and structures. Image credit: Don Bliss, National Cancer Institute
Fasting Blood Glucose Level
A glucose level below 11.1 mmol/L on a random blood sample does not rule out diabetes. A blood test taken in the morning before you eat anything is a more accurate test. Do not eat or drink anything except water for 8-10 hours before a fasting blood glucose test. A level of 7.0 mmol/L or more indicates that you have diabetes.
If you have no symptoms of diabetes but the blood test shows a glucose level of 7.0 mmol/L or more, the blood test must be repeated to confirm you have diabetes. If you do have symptoms and the blood test shows a glucose level of 7.0 mmol/L or more, the test does not need to be repeated. See the separate leaflets called Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes for more details.
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When To Get Tested
- When you have risk factors for diabetes or when you are 45 years of age or older, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association
- When you have symptoms suggesting high or low blood glucose
- When you have diabetes, you may be instructed by your healthcare practitioner to check your glucose level up to several times a day.
How Is A Cholesterol Test Performed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will need to get a sample of your blood. You will probably have your blood drawn in the morning, sometimes after fasting since the night before.
A blood test is an outpatient procedure. It takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless. Its usually performed at a diagnostic lab. In some cases, it can also be performed during a regular doctor visit, at a local pharmacy, or even at home. Walk-in clinic rates can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Cholesterol testing at a local pharmacy can cost $5 to $25. An at-home test can cost anywhere from $15 to $25, while tests that need to be shipped to a lab can average $75 to $200.
There are very few risks associated with having your blood drawn for a cholesterol test. You may feel slightly faint or have some soreness or pain at the site where your blood was drawn. Theres also a very slight risk of infection at the puncture site.
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. Ideal results for most adults are:
- LDL: 70 to 130 mg/dL
- HDL: more than 40 to 60 mg/dL
- total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL
- triglycerides: 10 to 150 mg/dL
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Blood Sugar Testing At Home
A person can test their blood sugar levels at home.
In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or sometimes 2 hours after a meal when blood sugar has returned to normal levels.
The right time to test is dependant on treatment goals and other factors. For example, most people with diabetes do not need to test between meals unless they are using a diabetes drug that can lower blood sugar. Other people may test between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.
Since they do not make any insulin, some people with type 1 diabetes need to test several times a day. They do this because they need to check their levels regularly in order to adjust their insulin dose at that time.
To do the blood sugar test, a person will:
- Prepare the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for the blood sample.
- Clean the testing area, usually the side of a fingertip, using an alcohol swab.
- Lance the testing area. Bracing against a firm surface can help with the impulse to pull away.
- Squeeze the testing area around the wound to maximize blood flow.
- Squeeze a drop of blood onto the test strip.
- Put the strip into the monitor.
- Record the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a log.
Blood glucose monitoring kits for use at home are available for purchase online.
When Should I Check My Blood Glucose Level
When you should check your blood glucose levels and how often you should check varies depending on each individual, the type of diabetes and the tablets and/or insulin being used. Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator will help you decide how many checks are needed and the levels to aim for. Possible times to check are:
- Before breakfast
- Before rigorous exercise
- When you are feeling unwell
Even though your meter may have a memory, it is important to keep a record of your readings in a diary and to take this with you to all appointments with your diabetes health team. This will provide both you and your diabetes health team with important information in deciding if and how your treatment may need to be adjusted.
Most meters on the market have software which allows you to download your records in different formats such as graphs and charts. Even if you can do this, it is still helpful to keep a diary, not only for your checks but also details of your daily activities, the food you eat and other relevant information. There are some apps that record all of this information in one place. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator how you can use a diary to help you to better manage your diabetes.
Checking four times a day is usually recommended for people with type 1 diabetes. However many people check more often, such as those using an insulin pump .
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
Tests For Blood Sugar And Hba1c
In this series
Blood sugar measurements are used to diagnose diabetes. They are also used to monitor glucose control for those people who are already known to have diabetes.
In this article
Tests for Blood Sugar and HbA1c
In this article
If your glucose level remains high then you have diabetes. If the level goes too low then it is called hypoglycaemia.
The main tests for measuring the amount of glucose in the blood are:
- Random blood glucose level.
- Capillary blood glucose .
- Urine test for blood sugar .
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A Need To Update Older Guidelines
Aldasouqi also points out that specialists currently recognize that eating before undergoing a blood cholesterol test is unlikely to affect relevant measurements. Therefore, having a meal before going in for a test may actually be better than fasting and potentially losing consciousness on the way to the laboratory.
He adds that the idea of fasting before a blood test comes from antiquated sets of guidelines from the 1970s, which specialists in Canada and most European countries no longer use.
For this reason, he says that United States-based specialists may want to consider revising their own guidelines to better fit the needs of their patients.
According to the studys findings, only 35 percent of participants had received advice about how to prevent a FEEHD event before going in for a blood cholesterol test.
We encourage patients who receive orders for a lab test, explains Aldasouqi, to ask their doctor if fasting is really necessary, and if so, how they should handle their diabetes medications during the fasting period to account for the changes in their blood sugar levels.
FEEHD is overlooked in clinical practice, and we aim to bring this problem to light and further educate doctors and patients about the consequences of fasting while on diabetes medications, he adds.
What To Know About Fasting Before Your Lab Test
With certain blood tests, you may be instructed to fast for up to eight hours before your appointment. Fasting before a blood draw means you dont eat or drink anything except water. Dont wait until the day of your blood draw to ask if you should fast. That could cause your appointment to be rescheduled. If at any point youre unsure if fasting is required, contact your doctor.
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What Affects The Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Eating or drinking less than 8 hours before a fasting blood test or less than 2 hours before a 2-hour postprandial test.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Illness or emotional stress, smoking, and caffeine.
- Taking a medicine, such as birth control pills, medicines used to treat high blood pressure, phenytoin , furosemide , triamterene, hydrochlorothiazide, niacin, propranolol , or corticosteroids . Some medicines can cause changes in your test results. Make sure that your doctor knows about any medicines you take and how often you take them.
Urine Test For Blood Sugar
Urine does not normally contain glucose. The kidneys filter our blood, keeping substances the body needs, while getting rid of waste products. Your kidneys constantly reabsorb glucose so that it doesnât enter your urine. However, if the glucose level goes above a certain level, the kidneys canât reabsorb all of the glucose. This means that some glucose will âspillâ through the kidneys into the urine.
A simple dipstick test can detect glucose in a sample of urine. In a dipstick test a doctor or nurse uses a special chemical strip which he/she dips into a sample of your urine. Colour changes on the strip show whether there is glucose in the urine sample. If you have glucose in your urine, you are likely to have diabetes.
However, some people have kidneys that are more âleakyâ and glucose may leak into urine with a normal blood level. Therefore, if your urine contains any glucose, you should have a blood test to measure the blood level of glucose to confirm, or rule out, diabetes.
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