Is it enough to measure your HbA1c level?

If you do not regularly measure your blood sugar levels at home, the HbA1c is your only glycaemic control. But is that enough?

Patients who do not  inject insulin or take any medication that can cause hypoglycaemia, may have been told that they do not have to measure their blood sugar levels at home. If this is the case for you, the only feedback on your blood sugar level is your HbA1c level that you get every few months at your doctor’s appointment.

But: is it really done for you then?

Yes and no. The HbA1c indeed gives a good overview of how well your diabetes is under control. But there is a lot of information that you do not have, if you do not measure at home – at least from time to time. Even with a good HbA1c level your individual levels might be too high two hours after a meal. Also your fasting blood sugar levels in the morning may be periodically increased. This will not necessarily be reflected in your HbA1c level.

However, for you and your doctor that information is useful in order to counteract with the right treatment. Especially, if you got your diagnosis recently and have never measured your blood sugar levels at home for a certain period of time. You cannot estimate how  your lifestyle impacts your blood sugar levels. Meals, stress, exercise – what effect do these everyday situations have on you? No one can estimate his or her blood sugar levels. The only way to get certainty is by measuring.

Therefore – even if you do not have measure regularly – it is a good idea to do it from time to time for a week or two at home. You can learn a lot and your doctor can adjust the therapy if it necessary, before anything gets out of hand.

Author: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Gaenshirt

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