When you are a family caregiver to an older adult with diabetes, there are many things about the disease you need to know. One of the things that is important for you to understand is A1C, which serves as a measure of how well your aging relative’s diabetes is being controlled.
What is A1C?
A1C is a kind of blood test that doctors use to determine how well blood sugar has been controlled over the past two or three months. It is also used to diagnose diabetes.
You may also hear a doctor call it:
- Glycated hemoglobin.
- Glycosylated hemoglobin.
- Hemoglobin A1C.
The results of an A1C test can provide doctors, family caregivers, and the senior with important information about their condition, such as:
- Whether or not the senior’s treatment plan is working.
- How accurate the senior’s self-testing for blood sugar is and the doctor’s results, too.
- How certain lifestyle choices, like eating and exercising, impact the control of diabetes.
The A1C test works by measuring how much of the hemoglobin in the older adult’s blood is covered with sugar. Hemoglobin is a kind of protein present in red blood cells. Its purpose is to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. When glucose (sugar) enters the bloodstream, it connects to hemoglobin, or glycates. The higher the amount of glucose in the blood, the more molecules of hemoglobin are glycated.
How Often is an A1C Test Needed?
Your older adult’s doctor will determine how often an A1C test is appropriate for them.
Some factors that can affect the frequency of testing are:
- The kind of diabetes the senior has, Type 1 or Type 2.
- Whether they use insulin.
- How well their blood sugar is controlled.
Testing may occur more frequently when the doctor makes a change to your aging relative’s diabetes treatment plan. They may also want to check it more often if the senior starts taking a new medication.
The test doesn’t require any special preparation, like fasting. In fact, the older adult should eat, drink, and use medicines the way they normally do. The test is conducted by a health care provider who takes a small sample of the senior’s blood. Blood can be taken from a vein in the arm or using a finger prick. Blood taken from the vein is typically sent to a lab for analysis while blood from a finger prick is tested in the doctor’s office. The doctor will determine what your aging relative’s target A1C is.
Home health care providers can assist your aging relative to keep their blood sugar levels under better control. A home health care provider can prepare meals that follow the eating plan suggested by the senior’s health care team. Home health care providers can also remind the older adult to check their blood sugar and assist them with recording the results. When it is time for a checkup and an A1C test, home care can offer transportation to and from the doctor’s office.
If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Home Health Care Services in Franklin Lakes NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.
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