DI­A­BETES:

A1C blood glu­cose

Milwaukee Health - - STAY WELL -

This per­va­sive dis­ease in­ter­feres with the body’s abil­ity to pro­duce or use the es­sen­tial hor­mone in­sulin. In­sulin is re­leased to help trans­port en­ergy (in the form of sugar or glu­cose), which comes from our food to the cells and dis­rupts the nor­mal me­tab­o­lism of car­bo­hy­drates, el­e­vat­ing the lev­els of glu­cose in the blood and urine.

It’s es­ti­mated that 30.2 mil­lion, or 12.2 per­cent, of Amer­i­can adults have di­a­betes, and the per­cent­age jumps to more than 25 per­cent among those 65 and older. Di­a­betes is the sev­enth lead­ing cause of death in the U.S. As with heart dis­ease, the risk fac­tors in­clude be­ing over­weight or obese, smok­ing, a fam­ily his­tory of the dis­ease, a seden­tary life­style, high blood pres­sure and high choles­terol. Left un­treated, di­a­betes can lead to dis­eases of the heart, kid­neys and eyes. While there’s no cure, it can be treated and man­aged with diet and med­i­ca­tion. Early di­ag­no­sis is key to liv­ing a nor­mal, healthy life.

“There’s now a sim­ple blood test that can pre­dict di­a­betes and mea­sure with un­canny ac­cu­racy how one is man­ag­ing the dis­ease,” says Khand­he­ria, the St. Luke’s car­di­ol­o­gist. This one, called the he­mo­glo­bin A1C blood glu­cose test, is dif­fer­ent from the fa­mil­iar glu­cose test that’s part of a com­plete blood count (CBC). The A1C mea­sures the aver­age amount of glu­cose in­side the red blood cells over the past three months as op­posed to the amount that’s cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing in the blood­stream. This “gold stan­dard” is con­sid­ered a vastly su­pe­rior in­di­ca­tor of di­a­betes. It doesn’t re­quire 12 hours of fast­ing or a trip to a lab, as it can be per­formed at your doc­tor’s of­fice or even your bed­side and is gen­er­ally cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

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