For monitoring purposes, the way that the A1c is reported is in the process of changing. Traditionally, in the United States, the A1c has been reported as a percentage, and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended that people with diabetes strive to keep their A1c below 7%. While this is still generally true, more than a decade of national and international efforts to improve and standardize the A1c test and its reporting led to the release of a consensus statement in 2007 (and an update in 2010) by the ADA, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC), the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, and the International Diabetes Federation. These joint statements and the completion of a study called ADAG (A1c-Derived Average Glucose) that further examined the relationship between blood glucose concentrations and A1c led to a recommendation that A1c be reported worldwide in two ways:
If your blood sugar drops too low, you can have a low blood sugar reaction, called hypoglycemia. A low blood sugar reaction can come on fast. It is caused by taking too much insulin, missing a meal, delaying a meal, exercising too much, or drinking too much alcohol. Sometimes, medicines you take for other health problems can cause blood sugar to drop.
We as doctors were supposed to first encourage diet and exercise, all that good lifestyle change stuff, which is very well studied and shown to decrease blood sugars significantly. But if patients didn’t meet those target A1c levels with diet and exercise alone, then per standard guidelines, the next step was to add medications, starting with pills. If the levels still weren’t at goal, then it was time to start insulin injections.
While physicians and researchers have established a link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes, genetics and environment play a huge role in determining who will develop diabetes. While this relationship is not completely understood by doctors and researchers, what we do think is that your genes and environment contribute to your baseline risk of developing diabetes. If you are obese, you can reduce this risk by eating a low-fat, low-sugar diet and exercising regularly.
How to test for diabetes at home Diabetes is a condition that can dominate what a person eats and how they live their life. However, measures are now available allowing people can test for diabetes at home. Learn how a test for diabetes can be performed at home and how to interpret test results. Which blood glucose monitor should people choose? Read now