10 Things You Must Know About Blood Sugar Testing

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When you understand the test for diabetes and what it means, you are then able to understand how to prevent type 2 diabetes.

1. The good news is that 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable.

2. Prediabetes is when the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is higher than normal. This means you are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. The gold standard test is called “HbA1c”, so let’s break that down

4. Haemoglobin (Hb) is the protein in your blood that carries oxygen around your body. Glucose in your blood can stick to the haemoglobin protein. When this happens, the haemoglobin is called HbA1c.

5. This blood test reveals the average amount of sugar in your bloodstream over the previous 8-12 weeks and is more accurate that a one-off urine test.

6. The HbA1c test can be done at any time of the day and does not require any special preparation.

7. The HbA1c test can be used to see if you are in the prediabetes range, the table below shows the ranges.

8. It helps to understand the ranges from normal, to pre diabetes and diabetes and what the levels mean, check your Hb1Ac result against the table below and speak to your Doctor or nurse if you have questions.

9. In New Zealand, the HbA1c test is measured in millimoles per mole (mmol/mol).

a. HbA1c less than or equal to 40 mmol/mol is normal

b. 41 to 49 mmol/mol are prediabetes

10. Your doctor will arrange for a blood test and laboratory form for you to take to your local lab for a test, the results will be available after a few days

We recommend that you make an appointment to discuss the test with your Practice Nurse or Doctor and ask if your test is normal, pre diabetes or diabetes.

50 mmol/mol and above suggest diabetes if you have symptoms. (If you have no symptoms of diabetes, 2 tests on separate occasions are needed).

What we learnt writing this article:

  • 80% of Type 2 Diabetes is preventable
  • HBA1c test is easy to get and helps you understand what your risk is
  • Glucose in your blood sticks to the Haemoblogin and that is what is tested in the blood to find out your levels and risk
  • The red blood cells only last for about 4 months (120 days), the HbA1c level only gives an indication of your blood glucose level over that time.

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