A REPORT CARD FOR DIABETES CONTROL
THE HEMOGLOBIN A1C TEST AND THE OPTIMAL CONTROL OF DIABETES
By keeping your diabetes under tight control, you significantly reduce the risk of losing your vision to diabetic eye disease.
The hemoglobin A1C test can tell you just how well you are controlling your diabetes. You can think of the hemoglobin A1C test as if it were an averaging of all your blood sugar readings from the previous three months.
An A1C reading of 7.0 or less indicates that your blood sugar control is probably quite good. Patients who maintain their hemoglobin AIC levels below 7.0 are less at risk for developing the complications of diabetes and are more likely to retain their vision.
Hemoglobin AIC readings above 8.0 are not as good. When the readings are 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0 and above, the risk and severity of diabetic complications increases proportionately.
Your doctor will probably draw a hemoglobin A1C; blood test three or four times a year. You should be interested and you should always know what your latest hemoglobin A1C results are. Keep these results in your wallet so that when you visit the Rand Eye Institute, we will be able to know what your latest numbers are.
The hemoglobin A1C test is in reality, your report card on how well you and your physician are managing your diabetes.
If you depend upon insulin injections to control your diabetes, a strategy of more frequent blood glucose measurements may improve the quality of your control considerably. The best diabetes control usually requires that you test your blood sugar four times a day or more.
You need to have a general idea of what your blood sugar measurement would be at any given time, and you should test yourself whenever you are not sure. With a little practice, you can learn how each food you eat will affect your blood sugar. Higher than normal blood glucose levels can be lowered with an additional insulin injection. Lower than normal blood glucose levels can be raised with a little sugar, orange juice or chocolate. This regimen of intensive control should be utilized only under the direction and supervision of your doctor. It can make all the difference in your diabetes control.
Proper management of your diabetes can save your sight, and it can save your life. Become an educated patient, and take an active role in preserving your good health.