Monitoring Your A1C Level at Primary Care Visits
Your primary care doctor has many ways to evaluate your health and help you achieve the wellness you want. Your doctor may even do an A1C test. This measures your glucose levels and screens for diabetes. If you want to know more about A1C monitoring during your primary care visits, here are the details.
A quick look
An A1C test is a common blood exam. Doctors use this test to diagnose Type I and Type II diabetes. People living with diabetes can manage the condition better with A1C values. The results of the test show the patient’s average blood glucose levels for the last two to three months.
Hemoglobin is part of the blood that transports oxygen throughout the body. The primary doctor can use this test to measure how much of the hemoglobin proteins in the blood are coated with glucose. A high level means the patient’s blood sugar control is poor. It also makes the patient more prone to diabetes complications.
How the test works
The A1C test is not a standard process at every doctor’s appointment. However, if a patient has any signs or symptoms of diabetes, the family medical doctor may order this blood test. During this procedure, a staff member draws blood and sends it to a lab for evaluation. The patient does not have to fast prior to the test and can return home and go about regular routines afterward. In some cases, the results may be ready the same day, but some patients may have to wait a few days.
The test results will reflect a percentage. The higher the number, the greater the risk the person has for diabetes. If the numbers come back below 5.7, the patient does not have diabetes. A range of 5.7 to 6.4 indicates a pre-diabetic condition. A primary care doctor will diagnose a patient with diabetes if the percentage is above 6.4 after two tests.
The primary care doctor will order this test to determine whether a person has diabetes. If the patient has already been diagnosed with this condition, the doctor will test the person regularly. If a person has prediabetes, the primary care doctor will likely want the patient to do the test at least once a year. Type 2 diabetes patients who do not use insulin will take the test twice a year, while type 2 patients who do use it will take it four times a year. Also, anyone with Type 1 diabetes should take the A1C test four times annually.
The results of this test can help a primary care doctor confirm Type 1 and Type II diabetes diagnoses. It could be two A1C tests on different days. It could also be an A1C test with a random or fasting blood sugar test. The test can also tell if the patient has prediabetes and onset cardiovascular disease. Keeping an eye on the patient’s diabetes plan is also possible by checking A1C levels.
The frequency of getting this test depends on the type of diabetes and the patient’s effort. It also depends on the primary doctor’s judgment and the patient’s treatment plan. People with prediabetes can have an A1C test every year. Patients who reach target blood glucose levels and do not use insulin should have the test two times a year. Those who have trouble controlling blood glucose and use insulin should have an A1C test four times a year. The doctor may recommend more frequent tests if there are changes in the patient’s treatment plan.
Some conditions raise the chances of a person having a high A1C percentage. People who are overweight or obese have a higher chance of becoming diabetic than a person who has a normal body mass index. Also, patients with high blood pressure are more prone to having the condition. Genetics plays a role in developing the disease as well. A person with a diabetic parent or sibling has a greater risk of having a high percentage on the A1C test.
Your primary care doctor will provide support
A diabetes diagnosis at your wellness checkup does not have to be a depressing event. People with diabetes can exert effort to regulate blood sugar levels. You can manage your levels well if your primary care doctor has told you that the A1C test indicates prediabetes or diabetes. Working with your doctor can help develop a plan to keep blood sugar levels acceptable.
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