A1C blood glucose
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.