If your health has been a little “off” lately, or you’ve had very distinct symptoms that seem like maybe they’re not that big of a deal, but they’re consistent, you should definitely have a few tests done.
It’s easy to pass off simple symptoms as something minor –after all, nobody wants to be sick. But putting a doctor’s visit off can cause severe health issues.
What is Diabetes?
Simply put, diabetes is a condition in the body that prevents the body from using food properly for energy. Glucose, a word often heard when diabetes is discussed, is the type of sugar that our bodies create by converting food for energy.
Those with diabetes create too much glucose because their bodies do not create or properly use insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that regulates the anabolic processes of the body. These processes are what fuels metabolism.
When someone doesn’t create enough insulin, the anabolic and metabolic processes of the body are out of harmony, and that means potentially severe health problems.
What are the Risks of Diabetes?
Diabetes can put people at higher risk for heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and the need for extremity amputations. Nerve damage, heart attacks, kidney disease, and various other severe medical conditions can also be a result of diabetes.
Increased risk for urinary and sexual disfunction for aging adults can result from diabetes as well. Diabetic coma is also a possibility – and can lead to death.
Who Gets Diabetes?
Those who have a family history of diabetes are at high risk for also contracting diabetes. Those who suffer from obesity, or pancreas disease are also at high risk for diabetes. Others who are at risk include:
- Those of certain ethnicities, including Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders
- Those who live a sedentary lifestyle – working out less than three times per week
- Women who have had gestational diabetes –having pregnancy induced diabetes puts you at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes
- Those with polycystic ovary syndrome
- Those who are over-weight and over 45 years of age
- Those who already have any kind of glucose intolerance
How Can You Know if You Have Diabetes?
There are a series of tests that can be taken to determine if someone has diabetes or not. If you have any of these symptoms for more than a few days at a time, please consult a doctor immediately and have a test taken to find out.
- Blurred vision
- Extreme hunger
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Changes in weight –gain or loss without effort
- Slow healing wounds
- Susceptibility to infection
- Vaginal and yeast infections
What is A1C?
The A1C test is also commonly called HbA1c, the glycated hemoglobin test, the glycosylated hemoglobin test, or the glycohemoglobin test. The Hemoglobin A1C is a test that tells you your average blood sugar levels.
The test examines the levels of hemoglobin A1C in the blood, which is a glycoprotein, and is the result of glucose binding to hemoglobin A.
In simpler terms, the Hemoglobin A1C test shows the amount of sugars bound to your hemoglobin, a part of the blood. The test shows the average amount of glucose attached to a person’s blood proteins over the past three-month period. This helps give an accurate image of how high a person’s actual blood sugar levels are.
What is A1C for?
The A1C test helps identify people more likely to develop diabetes. It is also a test used for those with diabetes, to help track the blood sugar levels. This test helps someone with diabetes keep track of their health and maintain the right treatment for their current health status.
A few examples of times someone would take an A1C test include:
- Checking for diabetes if someone is at high risk for developing diabetes
- Four times annually if someone has diabetes, if not meeting treatment goals
- Twice annually for someone with diabetes who is meeting treatment goals
- Four times annually for someone with diabetes who has changed treatment plans
- Once annually if you have prediabetes
An A1 C Chart will give you an understanding of average levels of a healthy person’s blood sugar counts. However, a doctor and laboratory will conduct the test and give you the results – along with an explanation about what’s going on, and what is most beneficial for your health.
How to Interpret A1C Levels
Normal A1c levels will be below 5.7 percent. Someone who has had long-uncontrolled diabetes will have A1C levels higher than eight percent. Anything in between is a somewhat controlled diabetic level, or prediabetic level.
If you believe it’s possible that you have diabetes, you should go have an A1C test as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is far better than putting it off because of the fear of having diabetes.