Diabetic Home Care and Monitoring (cont.)
Robert Ferry Jr., MD
Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Diabetic home care management facts
- What is diabetes?
- What is the treatment for diabetes?
- Exercise therapy
- Diet therapy
- Drug therapy
- How is diabetic treatment monitored at home?
- Blood glucose reagent strips
- Blood glucose meters
- Urine glucose tests
- Tests for urinary ketones
- What additional monitoring does the doctor do?
- Blood glucose
- Continuous glucose sensors (CGMS)
- Hemoglobin A1C testing
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
Hemoglobin A1C testing
The hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c) is crucial to monitor blood glucose control in patients with diabetes. In brief, hemoglobin A1c refers to the final product of several chemical reactions that occur in the bloodstream as red blood cells are exposed to glucose. A red blood cell typically lives for about three months, so the HbA1c reading provides a report card averaging the prior three months blood sugar levels. Many different methods are available to determine the HbA1c level. Regardless, HbA1c level has been shown to predict the risk for developing complications of diabetes, much in the same way that cholesterol levels are predictive of heart disease. The HbA1c test should be performed routinely at three-month intervals in established patients with diabetes. The HbA1c can be tested when a new case of adult diabetes is suspected, although its use to diagnose borderline pediatric diabetes is still debatable.
To measure HbA1c, blood obtained in the usual way (from a vein) and can be sent to a laboratory. Alternatively, many clinics specialized in diabetes care now have desktop HbA1c machines, which will read a simpler fingerstick blood sample within minutes. A few conditions can affect HbA1c measurements, most related to problems with red blood cells. For example, results may be falsely low if too few red cells are present (anemia). Falsely low readings can occur when red blood cells lose their proper shape (as with conditions like thalassemias, sickle cell disease, or spherocytosis). The HbA1c is a valuable tool to individualize patient care plans so that glycemic goals can be achieved.
REFERENCE: MedscapeReference. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Last Editorial Review: 5/30/2012
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