If you have diabetes or a family history of diabetes, testing blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c should be part of your annual physical. High blood glucose and HbA1c, especially over a long period, can cause diabetes complications such as damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. Having these tests done on a regular basis can help you manage your diabetes.

Fasting blood glucose, or fasting blood sugar, is tested to help diagnose diabetes or to monitor those with existing diabetes. This test requires an eight to 12 hour fast. A normal fasting glucose reading should be 70-99 milligrams per deciliter. The American Diabetes Association measure for diagnosing diabetes is a fasting blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter or higher. If your fasting blood glucose is 100-125 milligrams per deciliter, you are considered to have prediabetes and are at an increased risk of getting diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c, is a blood test that measures average blood sugar control over the last six to 12 weeks. It is mostly used for people already diagnosed with diabetes. Most people with diabetes should aim for an HbA1c level at or below seven percent and have it tested every three to six months. Discuss with a health care provider what level is right for you and how often you should be tested.

At your next physical, ask to have one or both of these tests added to your blood work. Employee Health Promotion Program does blood testing in the Exercise Physiology Lab the first Thursday of each month, 7-9 a.m. on a walk-in basis. Call (505) 277-2658.

Story by Shelley Rael, Health Education Consultant
Christine Mermier, Associate Scientist I
UNM Employee Health Promotion Program