By thegizzard Latest Reply 2011-01-18 14:26:52 -0600
Started 2011-01-17 12:12:49 -0600

My Hemoglobin A1C is 6.2 and my fingersticks are normal. What other measurements are there to determine that I have diabetes?

5 replies

GabbyPA 2011-01-17 12:49:26 -0600 Report

An A1c is diabetic. A non-diabetic A1c is 4.6-5.7. A true test is what your levels do after a meal. If you go above 140, that is diabetic. A non-diabetic can eat a bag of jellybeans with ice cream and cake and not go above 140. So if you ever go above that, then that is a measure. A glucose test is a way your doctor can find out. It is a long test and can take up to 4 hours, but it is pretty definitive. You go in fasting, and have your blood drawn. Then you are given glucose to drink and they draw blood at 30 min, 1 hour and then 2 hours. That is sent to a lab and the blood rise and fall in that time will tell them if you body is having difficulty using the glucose properly.

thegizzard 2011-01-17 13:46:32 -0600 Report

Thanks, that helps me understand a little, but according to my doctor's office, the value for my A1c fell within normal limits. I have also been told that different labs use different scales, so that normal and abnormal values vary from lab to lab. Have you heard of that? My primary told me that 180 was the upper limit for post meal fingersticks. Maybe she meant acceptable value and not normal value? I'm getting told conflicting things, and your excellent response to my question just begs more questions. I don't see my primary until mid March, but you can bet I'll take the time to straighten this out with her! I also have several different docs using different labs. I think I need to get all my labs done in one place, to start with, to at least get consistency. I don't go to a center like the Joslin Center; maybe it's time! I did go once, several years ago. They looked at my fingerstick results and told me I don't have diabetes! Very, very confusing. Thanks for the help!

GabbyPA 2011-01-18 14:26:52 -0600 Report

Sometimes you have to press your doctors. You have to ask WHY and WHAT FOR. They don't like to be questioned sometimes, but it is your health and your path to a long life on the line. Everyone's "normal" is different, but there are benchmarks to reach for. I think that is why it is confusing. Like KD mentioned, finger sticks are not diagnosis, they are guides. Even an A1c can be affected by donating blood or too many lows. There is not concrete way to say where you are exactly, but there are many indicators that show patterns that lead to a conclusive diagnosis. The thing to watch is denial on your part. Make sure you are not resting in a misdiagnosis to ease the conscience. Honesty is always the best course.

kdroberts 2011-01-17 14:48:21 -0600 Report

6.2 is not normal. It's under the level that a lot of doctors will tell a diabetic to aim for but even using it against diagnosing criteria it falls into pre-diabetes.

In the past different labs did have different scales and methods to do the A1c test but that's been pretty much standardized and although you will never get a test tat is 100% accurate, the same result in one lab will mean the same result in a different one.

When you test your blood sugar with a home meter, the result is a general guide and should never be used for diagnosing purposes. If you go to a lab and get a fasting blood sugar reading that's 100-125 you should be diagnosed with pre-diabetes, anything above 126 will be diabetes. If you have eaten/are not fasting then 140-199 would mean pre-diabetes should be suspected and further testing done, 200+ will mean suspected diabetes and further testing. Remember, they HAVE to be lab results using a blood sample from your vein not finger sticks.

The 180 that your doctor told you is one of the upper limits that diabetics are told to aim for 2 hours after eating. Other doctors and organizations say under 160 and some of the more recent data suggests under 140 may be better.

The best way to diagnose diabetes, in my opinion, is by getting a fasting blood sugar test, a 3 hour oral glucose tolerance test (drink 75g of sugar water and have your blood drawn and tested for glucose, and preferably in my opinion c-peptide, every 30 minutes for 3 hours) and an A1c. By using all 3 you cover all bases and get a picture of everything rather than concentrating on one area and missing the others.

thegizzard 2011-01-17 15:58:23 -0600 Report

Thank you for clearing that up for me. It helps a great deal, and gets rid of my confusion. Now I'll be better able to deal with my diabetes without wondering about the diagnosis. I do think, though, that I might benefit from going back to a place like the Joslin Center, for consistency. I'll bring that up when I see my primary in March. Thanks especially for the info on the fingersticks and the oral glucose tolerance test. I had forgotten about that one, but haven't had it done.