Most of us don’t really pay attention to what our doctor orders for our annual blood test.
You may know about your glucose test.
It’s supposed to tell you if you are diabetic, but it really doesn’t work.
You see, even if you are in a fasted state, glucose levels at that moment may not tell you very much. Your glucose level can change several times a day.
The best way to see if you have a blood sugar problem is to check your A1C. This test will check your blood sugar levels from over the last 3-4 months.
Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated).
The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.
You don’t have to worry about fasting properly to get an A1C test either. All they need is a little bit of your blood.
Too many doctors only order this test for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but it is an excellent way to spot any issues before they become problems.
Why don’t doctors order it? Because many insurance companies don’t consider it a standard test.
But when I googled the out-of-pocket costs, I found I could get my own for only $28 at a walk-in lab.
That is a relatively small price to pay to get a complete picture of my blood sugar over the last few months and possibly discover if I need to make dietary changes that could change my life.
By spotting the fact that you are pre-diabetic early on, you have the opportunity to make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid type 2 diabetes, which is an epidemic in America.
1 out of 3 Americans are pre-diabetic according to the Center for Disease Control, and 9 out of 10 are pre-diabetic and don’t even know it.
If you are pre-diabetic, there is a 15-30% chance of developing type 2 diabetes, which could require expensive insulin treatments for the rest of your life.
For only $28 once a year, you can get one of the best screening tests available and stop diabetes before it starts.
However, The Mayo Clinic says these factors may make the test less effective:
- If you experience heavy or chronic bleeding, your hemoglobin stores may be depleted. This may make your A1C test results falsely low.
- If you have iron deficiency anemia, your A1C test results may be falsely high.
- If you have another form of hemolytic anemia, or if you’ve had a recent blood transfusion, this test would not be useful, as results may be falsely low.
These are rare, but important, exceptions which can affect the accuracy of the test.
Sometimes we have to stand up to the insurance companies and insist that just because a test isn’t considered “standard” doesn’t mean it isn’t important to you.
Talk to your doctor and be sure to remind him that your insurance company is not your doctor.