Feeling your best—life in your target range
When you find your mind wandering—thinking about the future—what do you see? Whether you dream about taking photos somewhere amazing or starting a family, or you'd simply like to have more energy or sleep through the night, keeping your blood glucose in line can help you achieve it.
Sometimes it can seem like diabetes is all about the numbers. But your efforts to stay within your target ranges for blood glucose before and after meals, as well as meeting your HbA1c goal, are really about feeling your best today and for years to come.
Self-checks vs. HbA1c and why you need both
To track your self-care progress, your healthcare provider will probably want to review self-monitoring and HbA1c (commonly called A1C) test results side-by-side. Why? A self-check shows your blood glucose level at a single point in time. You can plot individual results on a graph to see patterns and look for ways to improve your control. The HbA1c test, however, samples hemoglobin cells that have been in your system for an average of about 3 months, the A1C test gives you a broader view.2
Still, because it's an average, the A1C result can't be viewed on its own.
Think about it: A person whose blood sugar runs from 2.8 to 14.4 mmol/L (50 to 250 mg/dL), could have an average blood glucose of 8.6/mmol/L (154 mg/dL), and an A1C right around 7%.2 On its own, that might look very healthy, but blood sugar running from 2.8 to 14.4 mmol/L isn't so safe. 2.8 mmol/L (50 mg/dL) is dangerously low, and rollercoastering up to 14.4 mmol/L (250 mg/dL) is going to make for a day of exhaustion, thirst and generally not feeling well.1
Better today and better tomorrow
You know that controlling blood glucose means lowering your risk of illnesses and health problems years from now, but you don't have to wait for your efforts to pay off. Managing your blood glucose means you may have more energy, sleep better and even be in a better mood every day.3 That can help a lot in achieving whatever is on your bucket list—whether it's learning to play golf, starting your own business or going dancing this Saturday night.
A1C: <6 or 7.0%, depending on personal factors1,2
Premeal blood glucose: 4-7 mmol/L (70-130 mg/dL)
Postmeal blood glucose: 5-10 mmol/L (90-180 mg/dL)
Trying to avoid the blood glucose rollercoaster
(graph with wild vertical swings, or an actual rollercoaster, compared to fairly steady line)
Even though they may average out to a healthy-looking A1C result, blood glucose numbers are no place for a thrill ride.1
1Phillips PJ, Leow S. HbA1C, blood glucose monitoring and insulin therapy. Aust Fam Physician. 2014;43(9):611-615. Available at: http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/september/hba1c,-blood-glucose-monitori.... Accessed June 30, 2015.
2International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes education modules 2011: clinical monitoring. Available at: http://www.idf.org/education/resources/modules-2011/download. Accessed June 30, 2015.
3Polonsky WH. Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can't Take It Anymore. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 1999:15.