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The Question
Wed Jan 05 15:41:53 EST 2011

I don't understand how a blood test can give you your average glucose numbers for the last 3 months. How does it really know your average?
Asked By: jenalynn  

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Expert Answers (1)
2011-01-06 23:15:53.0

Thanks for writing dLife! Your question is a very good one and the test that you are likely referring to is known as the A1c test which is typically done every 3 to 6 months so your doctor can track your overall diabetes control. This measures how much how much glucose (sugar) your red blood cells have been exposed to and is converted into a percentage. This percentage of red blood cell that has glucose attached (called glycosylation) can also be mathematically calculated to give an estimated average blood sugar level over the past 3 months. Remember, this test is an average, but does not replace finger stick or fasting glucose testing which shows what you blood sugar level is at one point in time. Be sure to discuss the results of your finger stick and lab testing with your doctor to put the results into proper context and find out what strategies are needed for best blood sugar control. Speak with a registered dietitian/certified diabetes educator regarding diet and lifestyle changes that can also optimize your blood sugar numbers as well as your overall health. Remember, there is no "bad" test result- they are just numbers and help us to make the best decisions possible for good diabetes control. Best of luck to you!
Answered By: Janice Baker
Accreditations: B.Sc., MBA, RD, CDE, CNSC, BC-ADM
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*** All information contained on dLife.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our Expert Q&A is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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