Testing your blood sugar levels
Knowing your blood sugar levels is important, especially when discussing type 2 diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes there are a number of ways that you can monitor your blood sugar levels.
Blood glucose devices give a real time reading on your blood’s current glucose level by testing your blood.
Continuous glucose monitoring devices use sensors that are placed on your body to measure the glucose in your interstitial fluid (fluid that is around your cells) for continuous, real time monitoring.
You can also test your blood sugar level to get an indication if you are likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future.
HbA1c is the abbreviated term for ‘glycated haemoglobin’. It refers to how much glucose (sugar) is attached to the haemoglobin protein which is found in red blood cells.
HbA1c is a way of measuring the average blood sugar levels in the blood over the past 12 weeks.
In people without diabetes, HbA1c levels may rise if there is too much sugar or starchy food in the diet. As Type 2 diabetes can often be delayed or completely prevented with a healthy lifestyle, the Hb1Ac test can be used to test for patients who are likely to become diabetic in the near future. These patients have ‘Pre-diabetes’ and are encouraged to do intensive lifestyle modifications.
What factors within my control could influence it?
Lifestyle improvements can make a huge difference to the HbA1c levels – and the good news is that it’s under your control.
Check that your diet doesn’t contain carbohydrate foods with a high glycaemic index (GI). The glycaemic index measures how much that food raises your blood sugar levels. The higher the glycaemic index, the greater the impact these foods will have on your blood sugars. It is important not to just focus the GI of foods, but also on the amount of carbohydrate in foods, and how many calories they contain.
If you have excess fat around your abdomen you are at a high risk of developing diabetes, so it is important to lose weight with a healthy diet and exercise, even if your Hb1Ac blood test is currently normal.
If you have any symptoms of diabetes, you should see your doctor. These include:
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Needing to pass urine often and large volumes, especially at night
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sores that won’t heal
- Blurry vision
Understanding your HbA1c levels
If your test shows that you have a result of 42 to 46, then you are in the diagnostic range of having ‘pre-diabetes’. This does not mean that you have diabetes, but may be at risk of developing it in the future.
You should seek advice from your GP to give guidance lifestyle modifications. This is very important as you have the control to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
If your test shows that you have a result of 47 and over, you may have Type 2 Diabetes and you should seek advice from your doctor.
If your Hb1Ac result is less than 42, you can be reassured that it is a normal result. It is still very important to keep your weight in the normal range and ensure you have a healthy lifestyle, as the risk of developing Type II Diabetes risk increases with age.