Managing Type 2 Diabetes: Blood Glucose Roundup
During your first visit with your diabetes care provider, you’ll come up with a plan for managing your diabetes. Work with your provider to determine clear goals for your blood glucose, including if and when to check it with a blood glucose meter on your own. Your provider may say you don’t need to check it at all if you’re not taking medications, or you may need to check it several times a day if you take insulin. Ask your provider what she recommends.
Part of this discussion is creating a plan for your daily blood glucose targets. For example, many people with diabetes shoot for a fasting blood glucose of 80–130 mg/dL. Your fasting blood glucose is normally the test that you do in the morning before you eat anything. Another common target is 2 hours after a meal of less than 180 mg/dL.
When you check your blood glucose levels, the numbers will be stored in your blood glucose meter. Your provider may recommend that you write these numbers down in a separate paper logbook or record them in an app or spreadsheet. This can help you see trends in your blood glucose, especially in reaction to changes of medications, foods, or physical activity.
The A1C test is another way to measure your blood glucose over time; your provider does this simple blood test in the office. It’s usually done two or more times a year, depending on your health and blood glucose control.
A1C is a measure of your average blood glucose over 3 months, so this number is helpful for both you and your provider to measure how your overall diabetes plan is working. Many people with type 2 diabetes have an A1C goal of less than 7 percent. However, you and your provider may decide that you want a more or less stringent goal for your A1C. Ask your provider to tell you your A1C level and write it down so you remember it later. Ask your provider whether your A1C is on target; if it’s not, ask how you can improve it. A1C is used to evaluate key points in your blood glucose management including your medication, food choices, weight, and physical activity. Don’t be shy about knowing this number and whether it’s in the ideal range.
Your provider may also give your A1C result as eAG or estimated average glucose. This unit of measurement is similar to the units given during readings from the blood glucose meter that you use on your own. A1C is a percentage; eAG is given in mg/dL.
Many people with diabetes try for an A1C of 7 percent or less, so ask your provider if this number is right for you.