How To Measure Your A1c At Home
The A1C or Hemoglobin A1C test is something everyone living with diabetes should be familiar with.
It doesnt show the whole picture of your diabetes management, but it can be a great indicator of whether your average blood sugar levels are within a healthy range.
Today, Ill show you how to easily and accurately measure your A1C at home.
Well also discuss what an A1C test actually tells you, why its a relevant test, and how to interpret the results.
What Are The Target Ranges
Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:
- duration of diabetes
- conditions a person may have
- cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
- hypoglycemia unawareness
- individual patient considerations
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes.;A1C targets;differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.;
- A1C:;Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG:;Less than 154;mg/dL
- Before a meal :;80130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *:;Less than 180 mg/dL
Urine Testing For Diabetes
Urine tests arent always used to diagnose diabetes. Doctors often use them if they think you may have type 1 diabetes. The body produces ketone bodies when fat tissue is used for energy instead of blood sugar. Laboratories can test urine for these ketone bodies.
If ketone bodies are present in moderate to large amounts in the urine, this could indicate your body is not making enough insulin.
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Which Tests Help My Health Care Professional Know What Kind Of Diabetes I Have
Even though the tests described here can confirm that you have diabetes, they cant identify what type you have. Sometimes health care professionals are unsure if diabetes is type 1 or type 2. A rare type of diabetes that can occur in babies, called monogenic diabetes, can also be mistaken for type 1 diabetes. Treatment depends on the type of diabetes, so knowing which type you have is important.
To find out if your diabetes is type 1, your health care professional may look for certain autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are antibodies that mistakenly attack your healthy tissues and cells. The presence of one or more of several types of autoantibodies specific to diabetes is common in type 1 diabetes, but not in type 2 or monogenic diabetes. A health care professional will have to draw your blood for this test.
If you had diabetes while you were pregnant, you should get tested no later than 12 weeks after your baby is born to see if you have type 2 diabetes.
How To Use The A1c Home Test Kit
There can be many reasons to measure your A1C at home, such as limited access to see your doctor, the distance to a lab, the cost of the lab work, etc.
There are great options for measuring your A1C at home, but please consult with your medical team before making any changes to your care or self-diagnosing diabetes.
One very affordable A1C home test kit is the A1CNow SelfCheck which I demonstrate how to use in the video below.
The kit comes with 4 A1C tests and will give you your A1C result in only 5 minutes. Follow the instructions that come with the kit and make sure to add enough blood or it will return an error message.
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Why You Should Check Your Blood Sugar
Testing blood glucose can help you manage diabetes by showing you:
- How well your diabetes treatment plan is working
- How exercise and food affect your blood sugar levels
- How things like stress and illness affect your levels
- How well your diabetes medication is working
- When your blood sugar levels are too high or too low
What Can Affect My Results
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
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Medications For Type 2 Diabetes
In some cases, lifestyle changes are enough to keep type 2 diabetes under control. If not, there are several medications that may help. Some of these medications are:
- metformin, which can lower your blood glucose levels and improve how your body responds to insulin its the preferred treatment for most people with type 2 diabetes
- sulfonylureas, which are oral medications that help your body make more insulin
- meglitinides, which are fast-acting, short-duration medications that stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin
- thiazolidinediones, which make your body more sensitive to insulin
- dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, which are milder medications that help reduce blood glucose levels
- glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, which slow digestion and improve blood glucose levels
- sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, which help prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the blood and sending it out in your urine
Each of these medications can cause side effects. It may take some time to find the best medication or combination of medications to treat your diabetes.
If your body cant make enough insulin, you may need insulin therapy. You may only need a long-acting injection you can take at night, or you may need to take insulin several times per day. Learn about other medications that can help you manage diabetes.
What A1c Goal Should I Have
People will have different A1C targets, depending on their diabetes history and their general health. You should discuss your A1C target with your health care professional. Studies have shown that some people with diabetes can reduce the risk of diabetes complications by keeping A1C levels below 7 percent.
Managing blood glucose early in the course of diabetes may provide benefits for many years to come. However, an A1C level that is safe for one person may not be safe for another. For example, keeping an A1C level below 7 percent may not be safe if it leads to problems with hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose.
Less strict blood glucose control, or an A1C between 7 and 8 percentor even higher in some circumstancesmay be appropriate in people who have
- limited life expectancy
There is no information on the website about the turnaround time for test results
Results are not available online; you;must call in to get test results
Founded in 1993, HomeAccess was selected for its quality standards and competitive pricing.
The HbA1C test kit includes a self-collected finger stick blood sample as well as package and mailing products. Theres an instructional video that provides step-by-step instructions on the blood sample collection process.;Youll submit your results in the mail with the included postage-paid envelope.;Results must be obtained over the phone.
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Non Fasting Blood Tests
An HbA1c test is the main blood test used to diagnose diabetes. It tests your average blood sugar levels for the last two to three months. You dont need to prepare for a HbA1c . Its a quick and simple test where a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your arm. This is different to a finger-prick test, which is a snapshot of your blood sugar levels at that moment.
Youll normally get the test results in a few days. From these results, your healthcare professional will be able to see if you have diabetes. If you didnt have any of the symptoms of diabetes before you were tested, youll need to have the test again ;to confirm the result.;
You have diabetes if your HbA1c level is 48mmol/mol or above..
You are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if your HbA1c is between 42 and 48mmol/mol.
Random blood glucose test;
If you have severe symptoms of diabetes, you may have a random blood test at any time of the day. This is a quick test, through a finger-prick or a vein in your arm.
If you have a ;finger-prick test, youll get the results straight away.;If you have a blood test through a vein in your arm, youll get the results in a few days.;
You or your loved one have diabetes if your blood glucose levels are 11.1mmol/l or more – regardless of how recently you ate.
But any;diagnosis from a finger prick test will need to be confirmed by a blood test sent to a laboratory for results.
How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition to you, have someone else learn how to use your meter in case youre sick and cant check your blood sugar yourself.
Below are tips for how to use a blood sugar meter.
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Home Diabetes Test Kits To The Rescue
Diabetes is a serious disease that requires accurate testing. This condition strikes when you have too much sugar, or glucose, in your blood.
Fortunately, thanks to advances in digital healthcare, there is now an online detect option for diabetes. Ahome Diabetes Hemoglobin A1c Screening Test from myLAB Box is a simple and easy way to get accurate results at any time and in any place.
This easy-to-use home HbA1c test may be used to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. Prediabetes means that, while you dont have diabetes, your blood sugar levels show you are at risk for getting it.
This at home test kit checks your glucose levels over a period of three months. Based on the results, you can determine if you are pre-diabetic, or how controlled your diabetes treatment is. The screening kit includes a 1 finger-stick blood kit to to test Hemoglobin A1c levels.
Always See A Doctor If You Think You May Have Diabetes
While you can test for diabetes at home, its important to recognize that not all people with diabetes have obvious symptoms and its critical to get screened if you have risk factors like a family history of diabetes.;
Always have your diagnosis confirmed by a doctor so you can start the right treatment, and avoid potential diabetes complications.
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Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Resistant starch found in some potatoes and beans bypasses the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine, which means it doesnt raise glucose levels and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Its a fiber-filled starch and helps with glycemic control, says Joelle Malinowski, RD, a certified diabetes care and education specialist with Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, New York. And the effect will last through your next meal, Weisenberger says. Its called the second-meal effect, she says.
Interestingly, resistant starch can change with heat, and some foods, like rice, are higher in resistant starch when cooked and cooled than when cooked and served warm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Resistant starches are also found in:
Just be sure to keep carb count in mind when incorporating foods with resistant starch into your diet.
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Days Diet Plan To Cure Diabetes Naturally
As I have already mentioned that diet plays an important role in maintaining the glucose level thats why here I am sharing a weekly diet plan for diabetics.
If you want you can follow this diet plan and you will see a great improvement in your sugar level.
No need to follow the order, you can follow it accordingly.
It is highly recommended that you follow this diet plan but if you are conscious about it, you can also consult with your doctor. Always keep in mind that your diet has a great impact on your sugar level.
When Should I Measure My Blood Glucose
Throughout the rest of your pregnancy, you will need to measure your blood glucose levels at various points through the day, to check that they are within the limits you have been given at each of those times:
When you get up; You need to measure your blood glucose levels each morning when you get up, before you have anything to eat or drink. This blood glucose level is called your fasting blood glucose level because you will have an empty stomach. You must not have eaten or drunk anything apart from water overnight, for at least eight hours.
Your team should have discussed this with you and agreed the ideal morning blood glucose level for you to aim for.;
Before or after every meal;;You will probably be asked to measure your blood glucose level around the time of a meal. Some services measure before eating while others measure one or two hours after a meal .
Again, you will have discussed and agreed an ideal blood glucose level after meals with your diabetes team. These levels will be higher than your fasting blood glucose levels, as you will just have eaten.
If you are taking insulin to help to control your blood glucose levels, you may need to do a separate test before you go to bed, or even during the night, although this is unusual.
“When we did go out for a special meal or two, and I’d have a little bit of cheesecake or something, it really affected my sugar levels. But that would’ve been just twice in the whole pregnancy.”;Gemma, mum of one
Should You Take A Hba1c Test
The;LetsGetChecked HbA1c test can be taken by those who live with prediabetes, who would like to explain symptoms they have been experiencing or for those who wish to rule out the condition.
You should take the HbA1c test if you are experiencing symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, especially if you have been experiencing them for up to six weeks. Find more about;the symptoms of type 2 diabetes here.
Monitoring your blood sugar is an integral part of diabetes treatment. The HbA1c test can also be taken to monitor your blood sugar levels if you have been diagnosed with diabetes previously, by measuring hemoglobin A1.
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What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
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Which Is Right For You
Finding the best glucose monitoring system that is right for you is about finding the choice that best suits your needs. By considering the benefits and limitations between the different systems that are available in Canada, you can find a system that meets your individual requirements while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your diabetes care routine.
Our glucose monitoring comparison chart provides a summary of CGM, Flash glucose monitoring devices and test strips and meters.