Diabetes and the Hemoglobin A1c Test
The hemoglobin A1c test (also called the glycated hemoglobin test or HbA1c), is an important diabetes blood test used to determine how well your diabetes is being controlled. This diabetes test provides an average of your blood sugar control over a six- to 12-week period and is used in conjunction with home blood sugar monitoring to make adjustments in your diabetes medicines. The HbA1c level can also be used to diagnose diabetes if a value of equal to or greater than 6.5% is found.
Other Diabetes Tests
Along with the hemoglobin A1c test, it's important for people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year as part of a complete eye exam. This important test can detect early signs of retinopathy, which may have no symptoms at first. A foot exam once or twice a year -- or at every doctor's visit -- is also imperative to detect decreased circulation and sores that may not be healing. Early detection of eye and foot problems in diabetes allows your doctor to prescribe proper treatment when it is most effective.
Diabetes Testing in Children
Many children have no symptoms before they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Most of the time, diabetes is discovered when a blood or urine test taken for other health problems shows diabetes.
Talk to your doctor about your child's risk for diabetes. If your child's blood sugar tests are higher than normal, but not yet at the level of diabetes (called prediabetes), your doctor may instruct you in specific diet and exercise changes to help your child avoid getting diabetes altogether. Children with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes are almost always overweight or obese.
Understanding Your Diabetes Diagnosis
Diabetes can cause major health problems if you do not keep your blood sugar in check. However, you can stay healthy and feel good despite your diagnosis if you follow your doctor's recommended treatment plan and maintain a healthy lifestyle. By choosing foods wisely, exercising regularly, maintaining a normal weight, reducing your stress level, and making other modest lifestyle changes, living with diabetes will be easier.