Monday, January 17, 2011

Should Type 2 Diabetics Test Hemoglobin A1C at Home?

Testing HbA1C at home gives an earlier warning of problems or a quicker confirmation diabetics are on the right track. Here are the reasons why--and how much money you can save.

The hemoglobin A1C test is a standard lab test for measuring long-term control over type 2 diabetes. Most doctors order it at least every 3 or 4 months. The nurse or phlebotomist draws blood and sends it to a central lab, and the doctor may or may not know the results before the diabetic comes in. If the test results are running late, diabetics may not know how their diet, exercise, and medications are working for six months or more.

Advances in testing technology have made it possible to do an in-office or at-home HbA1C test for an out-of-pocket cost of under US $10. (Compare this to the charges of up to $250 billed by labs.) There are two major advantages to getting this number sooner:

  • You can ask questions about your progress then and there with your doctor or diabetes educator, and
  • You can get a good measure of your progress in just 30 days if you do the test at home.

One of the inherent problems with using HbA1C as a measurement of diabetic control is that the higher your blood sugar levels go, the sooner your red blood cells die. If you have a really high HbA1C, like 20%, the reality may be even worse than the number suggests because some red blood cells break down before they are ever measured.

On the other hand, if you are making really good progress in controlling your diabetes, most of the change will be measurable in just 30 days, not 90. Wouldn't it be better to know right away you are on the right track?

That's what at-home HbA1C testing can do for you. It's cheaper, it's faster, and it gives you more control over your decisions in diabetes care. Although the initial outlay will be about $100, buying your own at-home HbA1C testing system will give you 10 tests for less than half the price most labs charge for one, and the unit may be covered by insurance. Check out A1C Now for more information. We don't make any money on the link.

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