“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
-George Santayana, Life of Reason, Vol 1, Reason in Common Sense
Understanding where we are and where we’ve been helps us understand where we are going. We use three blood tests to help people understand their past, present, and future as it relates to blood sugar disorders like diabetes.
The three tests are Hgb A1c, glucose, and insulin.
Hgb A1c: This is a test that measures the average blood sugar over the last three months. It takes into account everything you’ve eaten, done, or experienced during that time that might alter your blood glucose. It often runs higher than people expect but it helps take into account the effect of food on the body. Diabetes can be diagnosed when this number gets to 6.5%. Healthy values would be less than 5.5% or even lower.
Glucose: This is a measure of the amount of glucose floating around in the blood stream at any point in time. It is simply a snap shot of what is going on. Typically this is done fasting so as to assess the ability of your body to get back to normal when we stop letting our food choices get in the way. Generally a level above 100 mg/dL is too high. When it gets above 125 mg/dL we call that diabetes. A non-fasting glucose show you how your body may be reacting to a high sugar meal too. A non fasting glucose above 150ish ought to give you pause and make you rethink what you had to eat.
Insulin: This a measure of the work the pancreas is doing to get your blood glucose to its current level. It helps us understand whether that job is easy or hard. For instance if you have a normal blood glucose but a very high insulin level that means your pancreas is working extremely hard to maintain that normal glucose. Your pancreas can’t do that forever and will wear out sooner than you might want. When the pancreas fails the blood sugar starts to rise. It is estimated that by the time your blood glucose rises above 100 mg/dL one half of your pancreas has already died off. A high insulin level is a strong indicator that change needs to happen to prevent the damage of diabetes.
So if you want to know the past, present, and future of your body’s blood sugar come in and talk to us about these three tests.