Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Subscribe to our Controlling Your Diabetes e-newsletter to stay up to date on diabetes topics.
A1C or blood glucose monitoring: Which one is better? Neither. You need both measurements to ensure you have good diabetes management. First, let's look at the two and their differences.
The A1c test: The A1c test measures the amount of glucose on your red blood cells and gives an average of your blood glucose control over a period of 2-3 months. This test is generally ordered by your healthcare provider every 3-6 months, depending on your blood glucose control and the type of diabetes you have.
The goal standard set by the American Diabetes Association is for you to keep your A1c percentage at 7.0 or below. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists prefers the percentage to be 6.5 or below. The American Geriatrics Society recommends A1c levels of 7 percent or lower for healthy adults and less stringent levels for less healthy adults of 8 percent or lower.
Blood glucose metering: Checking your blood glucose with your personal meter gives you immediate information and helps you make decisions for your diabetes management. Metering helps you determine how to dose your insulin, handle exercise and illness, and tell you if you're on track with your diabetes care.
Even if you're not on insulin, blood glucose metering even several times a week tells you how well you're doing, if you need to make lifestyle changes, or if you need to contact your healthcare provider for help.
The two tests together inform your provider of the long range control over the past 2-3 months and the meter reading tells the day to day control. I sometimes use the analogy; the A1c is the motion picture and the blood glucose meter readings are the camera snap shot picture.
Meanwhile, Reuters Health recently reported that frequent blood sugar testing was strongly associated with better diabetes control in a large new study that concludes public and private insurers should not be limiting test strip supplies.
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
Thank you very much.This article has been very helpful to me.Since long I had been searching for a clear explanation about the diffrence between A1C and metering.
It is of little use to test the blood sugar at home if you don't use that information to change what and when you choose to eat and to encourage exercise. If you take it at the same time every day, it has not changed, and you are not willing to make a change in your eating or exercising that day, skip the test for several days and save!
my fasting numbers are high in the morning...then drop all day to about 115 before dinner (starting about 175 at 7 am)....what is that?
This is a great information. I enjoy learning more with every article. As a newly diagnosed diabetic in the last 6 months, I'm very thankful for your weekly updates!
I AGEE WITH YOUR COMMENT.
I AM A SENIOR OF NEARLY 85 YEARS AGE. I HAVE DIAB. TYPE 2. I TESTED SUGAR (FASTING ) EVERYDAY UNTIL TILL MARCH 1954. STRIPS WERE SUPPLIED NO CHARGE BUT NOW OLY LIMITED SUPPLY IS PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE AND I CANNOT TEST FOR B.S. DAILY. I AM PUZZLED, WHICH IS COSTLY, PROVIDING FREE TREATMENT FOR DIAB. OR TRY TO PREVENT SERIOUS CONQUENCES FROM THE DESEASE ? I LIVE IN ONTARIO, CANADA , I HAVE PRIVETE MED. INSURANCE COVERAGE AS WELL AS IN ONTARIO MEDIALEXPENCES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE COVERED UNDER PROVINIAL INS. PLAN.
On the question'what if A1c and glucose readings don't match" The article does not providr the comparison numbers. What meter reading is equal to a A1c of 6 or 7 or 7.5?
my last AIC test in Feb 2014 was 5.7,the testing lab this was HIGH,my Doctor said they are NUTS,any comments?
Kern: "In future articles could you speak to the issue of using a Sliding Scale in insulin management!" Thank you for the topic suggestion. It is a good one and I will work on it. Always looking for topics of interest!
If you are not taking insulin, Medicare only allows you one test strip a day. I take metformin 2x a day. testing more often would probably prevent Type 2 patients from graduating to insulin. We need to push for the price of the strips to go down they have been around long enough that they should be generic. I usually test first thing in the morning.
Your article did not address what if your daily test is good and the A1C is 7.6. Which is an average of 170. Average daily test is only 130.
Mr. King should have the doctor write a Rx for the number of times testing per day. I test mine 4 time a day and have no problem getting the right amount of test strip from medicare.
I am a new subscriber to the news letter and I'm enjoying the information I'm getting! In future articles could you speak to the issue of using a Sliding Scale in insulin management!
Someone should tell Medicare about these finds they only allow for one test per day. I was testing 3times pr day and had to cut back to 1. This caused less accuracy in testing.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.