Sign up to receive e-alerts and newsletters on the health policy topics you care about most. The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. People living with diabetes are accustomed to checking their blood sugar levels several times a day with a personal glucose meter at home. While knowing your daily glucose levels is important, people living with diabetes should also undergo A1C testing a few times a year to get a clearer picture of how well the diabetes is responding to treatment. A1C is a chemical in the blood that adheres to glucose (sugar), which allows the glucose to be measured. Blood glucose levels fluctuate so much during the day that it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate reading. Even though home glucose readings and estimated average glucose readings are interpreted differently, each reading is just as important as the other when it comes to managing diabetes.

Follow Us Which Factors Can Alter Blood Test Results In People With Diabetes?Contrary to popular belief, all blood tests were not created equal. These meters incorporate the finger prick and test strip method for monitoring glucose levels any time of the day – generally before and after meals and at bedtime. A1C testing is more thorough than at home testing because it gives an accurate account of estimated average glucose readings over a period of two or three months, instead of short term readings like the at home monitors provide. A1C is measured in percentages and provides a window into your glucose levels over the past three months.
Meals, stress, exercise and many other factors can cause blood glucose levels to rise and fall from one hour to the next. If you are unsure whether your estimated average glucose reading is below the ADA recommended 7%, schedule an appointment with your doctor to have an A1C test performed.
These percentages are converted into whole numbers, which are known as estimated average glucose (eAG) readings.

Because your estimated average glucose reading is gleaned from three months worth of information on the A1C test, doctors are better able to determine your true average, rather than having to rely solely on information that fluctuates from one finger prick to the next. These percentages and whole numbers for the estimated glucose readings are what make up the A1C chart that doctors refer to in order to diagnose and treat diabetes. Generally speaking, a lower percentage of estimate average glucose reading is more desirable than one on the higher end of the chart.

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