What is the need for monitoring Diabetes?
At the beginning Diabetes is often without symptoms. Time and again it has been proved in various scientific studies that uncontrolled Diabetes has a very high risk of developing complications (will be discussing later). Once complications develop, they do not go away. Diabetes needs to be treated to keep you symptom free and to prevent future complications. When your sugar control is good, you can be sure that you are doing the correct things. So you must keep on doing the same.
How should I monitor my Diabetes?
There are two main ways of monitoring diabetes control. One is checking your blood sugar either by pricking finger (glucometer) or by blood test in the laboratory. Finger pricking has the advantage of keeping your control in your hand and is advisable at least to those on insulin and pregnancy Diabetes, if not all. The second way of monitoring is by checking HbA1C. Testing urine glucose is certainly better than nothing and useful for elderly people. A “nil" urine sugar will tell blood sugar is less than 180 mg%. This means if somebody"s sugar control is good urine will always show nil for sugar.
What is HbA1C and how does it help?
If you do a blood sugar test now, it tells us what is the sugar now. It does not tell what was the sugar an hour, a day, one week or a month back. HbA1C is an average measure of the blood sugar. It is the measure of the sugar that is attached to the haemoglobin. It tells us about the average reading for the last 3-4 months. So, HbA1C adds to a better assessment of Diabetes control. Please remember that HbA1C does not tell us what your total haemoglobin is.
Is HbA1C cost effective?
In most of the laboratory, it will cost you from 300 to 400 Rs. It is certainly much more costly than blood sugar but it adds an extra point to your Diabetes assessment. The main advantage is HbA1C gives an average reading what ultimately matters in preventing long-term complications. You need to check 3-4 times a year