To keep blood glucose levels in the target range and to reduce the risk of complications, accurate doses of insulin need to be delivered to the body. Different therapies can include:
When you monitor your blood glucose with a fingerstick test, you measure it at the moment you perform the test. To get an even better picture of how well you're managing your diabetes, it is important to look at your average blood glucose levels over a few months.
The test used to work this out is the haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test. HbA1c is a kind of chemical 'footprint' that shows how much glucose has been in your bloodstream over the past 60 to 90 days (the average lifespan of a red blood cell). Research shows that, for people living with diabetes, an HbA1c level of ≤ 7 greatly reduces the risk of long-term complications1,2. In fact, any reduction in HbA1c is good news.
Whether you use an insulin pump or injections, it's important to have your HbA1c levels tested at least every three months by your doctor, endocrinologist or diabetes educator. That way you can get a clearer picture of how well you're doing and make the necessary treatment and lifestyle adjustments to do even better.
1. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) Research Group. The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long-term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. NEJM. 1993;329(14):977-986.
2. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) Study Research Group. Intensive diabetes treatment and cardiovascular disease in patients with Insulin Dependant Diabetes. NEJM. 2005;353(25):2643-2653.