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A1c Basics for People With Type 2 Diabetes

A1c Without Blood Glucose Monitoring

In some situations, especially in people with type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin or other medications that can cause abrupt changes in blood glucose, your doctor might recommend checking your blood sugar just once a day, or even less often. If you test your blood sugar infrequently, the A1c becomes an especially important tool to help you and your healthcare provider get a more complete picture of your blood sugar control.
 
However, A1c monitoring can never replace blood glucose monitoring. This is especially important if you are taking insulin or other medications that can cause low blood sugar or if you are aiming for a very low A1c, since frequent feedback from blood glucose monitoring is essential for safety.
 

Knowing Your Goal A1c

If you don't know it already, ask your doctor about your goal A1c. This goal will not be the same for all people. The American Diabetes Association suggests a goal of 7 percent, but some people cannot achieve that low of an A1c safely (they will have trouble with dangerously low blood sugar). Alternatively, some people will be able to so tightly control their blood sugar that a much lower goal is appropriate. Your goal is your goal, not anybody else's. Don't feel bad if your goal isn't as low as someone else's.
 
Disappointed with a recent A1c test? Having an A1c test come back higher than you expected or hoped can feel like a devastating blow, especially if you've been working hard to control your blood sugar. Try to view it as constructive criticism. It is what it is; make positive changes as necessary, and move forward. 
 
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