Diabetes by the Numbers (continued)
The A1C test
What happens to white delivery trucks on snowy, slushy roads in the winter? Yep. They get dirty. Something pretty similar happens to red blood cells in your body when your sugar is high. Sugar molecules stick to their skins the same way slush and mud and ice stick to the side of the delivery trucks. (As a complete side note: a red blood cell is a delivery truck too; it's sole function is the delivery of gases to various parts of the body.)
The A1C test measures the amount of mud and slush on the red blood cell and reports it as a percentage. This percentage, in turn, gives us a picture of the blood sugar environment the cell lived in during its dLife. As red blood cells live for three months on average, an A1C gives us a window into your average blood sugar for the last three months.
To learn the green light, yellow light, and red light scores for your A1C test, click here.
The fingerstick test
Again, the various professional organizations that guide our doctors have slightly different settings for our fingerstick stop lights; kind of the way speed limits might vary from town to town and state to state. But in general, you need to drive more slowly in the city than in the open country; and in the same vein, your blood sugar should be lower in the morning or before meals (a.k.a. fasting) than it is after meals (a.k.a random).
To learn the green light, yellow light, and red light scores for your fingerstick test, click here.
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I have a friend, M, who has diabetes and never, ever tests her bloodsugar before she gets behind the wheel. This has always worried me about her. On Wednesday, she had a bad accident after passing out behind the wheel. She hit another car head on. I thank the universe that no one was killed, but she and the driver of the other vehicle were both badly injured. She's got a long healing road ahead of her, as does the woman she hit. I was talking about the...