An A1c screening helps you understand how well your blood sugar has been controlled over a period of time. Blood sugar values fluctuate over the course of a day or week, so an A1c gives you a picture of your average blood sugar over the past three months. Learn more
It is important to make sure your blood pressure is within target range/at the goal you and your doctor have discussed to prevent complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and heart failure. Learn more
Blood Cholesterol is a normal part of your blood and cells, and an important part of a healthy body. You get cholesterol in two ways: your body makes some of it, and the rest is made from the foods you eat. How much your body produces plus what you eat makes a difference in your health. Learn more
Blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the amount of glucose in your blood and important for everyone as a source of energy. When carbohydrate-containing foods are eaten, your body breaks them down into glucose, using it for energy. While everyone has blood glucose, people with diabetes have a different way of managing it with lifestyle choices to keep their levels within target range. Learn more
What is an A1c test?
An A1c screening can help you understand how well your blood sugar has been controlled over a period of time. Though you may have some high or low blood sugar values, an A1c gives you a picture of your average blood sugar over the past three months, giving you a more accurate idea if your lifestyle choices and any prescribed medications are helping you keep your numbers in target range. Your A1c number can be converted to an average blood glucose value to help you, your doctor and Pharmacist identify if any changes are needed in your diabetes care.
When should I have an A1c test?
Here are some general guidelines on how often you should get tested:
- Current screening guidelines recommend that everyone over the age of 45 have an A1c test.
- If results are within a normal range, the test should be repeated every three years.
- For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association® recommends checking your A1c every three months if above seven percent (7%) and every six months if at seven percent (7%) or below.
- You should also check your A1c every three months if you are making changes in medicine or other adjustments to your diabetes care.
What should be my A1c goal?
The American Diabetes Association® recommends most people to have an A1c goal of less than seven percent (7%). These numbers are meant to be general guidelines. Your doctor may have a different goal for you depending on age, length of time with diabetes and other medical conditions. Always follow the goal set by your doctor, as this is set with your personal needs and medical history in mind.
Diabetes and Other Conditions:
When your diabetes is not controlled, you may experience greater difficulties and/or be at higher risk for:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure/Blood vessel problems
- High cholesterol
- Eye conditions
- Digestive concerns
- Feet conditions
- Kidney problems
- Nervous system concerns
With proper care and lifestyle choices, you may be able to stop or slow the progression of diabetes and delay these complications.
Why is it important to check my blood pressure?
It is important to make sure your blood pressure is at goal to help prevent complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and/or heart failure.
How is blood pressure measured?
For most people, blood pressure can be checked with an automatic blood pressure monitor or a manual blood pressure device. To ensure an accurate reading, it is important that you sit with both feet flat on the floor and your arm at heart level. Ideally you should avoid caffeine and tobacco for 30 minutes prior to having your blood pressure taken. In order to get an accurate reading, on the day of your visit, please either wear a short sleeved shirt or make sure that you roll up your shirt sleeves. Taking this into account will ensure you get an accurate blood pressure reading.
Automatic blood pressure monitors are available at your local Pharmacy. For this screening method, a cuff on your arm is filled with air to create pressure on your upper arm. The pressure is then slowly released, allowing your blood pressure to be read.
What do my blood pressure results mean?
A blood pressure measurement has two numbers: the systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) is the pressure measured when your heart is pumping. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the pressure measured when your heart is resting between beats.
What is normal blood pressure?
- Target blood pressure is 120/80mm Hg. However, blood pressure goals can vary based on other conditions you may be experiencing.
- Most people should have a blood pressure reading that is less than 140/90mm Hg.
- For people with diabetes or kidney disease, the recommended blood pressure goal is less than 130/80mm Hg.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a normal part of your blood and cells that you get in two ways: your body makes some of it, and the rest is made from the foods you eat. While blood cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body, having cholesterol levels that are higher than target range may put you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
When should I have a cholesterol screening?
Current guidelines recommend everyone 20 years and older get a cholesterol screening.
Based on risk factors and other health conditions, this screening should be repeated anywhere from every three months to every five years. Your Pharmacist can help determine how frequently you should be screened.
What do cholesterol screenings measure?
- Full Lipid Panel: This includes total cholesterol as well as a breakdown of the different types of good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): LDL is also known as the "bad" cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol contributes to plaque in your arteries and can increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): HDL is known as the "good" cholesterol. Your body makes HDL cholesterol; it helps remove blood cholesterol out of your arteries. HDL acts as an anti-risk factor for heart disease.
- Triglycerides (TG): TG is a form of fat. People with diabetes, heart disease or those who are overweight often have high TG levels.
What are healthy levels of cholesterol?
- Total Cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dl
- LDL: Less than 100 mg/dl
Note: Your LDL goal should be discussed with your doctor, as it may vary based on other personal risk factors or medical conditions
- HDL: Greater than 40 mg/dl
In general, a higher HDL is better. You can increase your HDL or good cholesterol by including appropriate, regular activity and not smoking.
- TG: Less than 150 mg/dl
What is Blood Glucose?
Blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the amount of glucose in your blood. When carbohydrate-containing foods are eaten, your body breaks them down into glucose, using it for energy. While everyone has glucose in their blood, people with diabetes have to manage how much they eat and when in addition to other lifestyle choices to manage their blood sugars. Knowing your numbers can help you determine the next steps in what’s best for you.
When should I have a blood glucose screening?
Current screening guidelines recommend people 45 years and older who have not been diagnosed with diabetes be screened at least every three years to test for diabetes.
People who are considered high risk should be screened even earlier.
Talk to your Pharmacist for specific information on whether or not you should be screened. Remember, only your doctor can diagnose diabetes.
When should I test my blood glucose if I have diabetes?
If you have diabetes, you should be checking your blood sugar regularly. When and how frequently you test your blood glucose levels depend on individual factors and what medications you are taking. Your doctor, Pharmacist and dietitian can help you determine when you should test your blood sugar. To help keep your blood glucose in the goal range set by your doctor, be sure to record your values and the time of day you took them, as well as if it was before or after a meal. If you need help understanding how to check your blood sugar and use your glucometer, talk to your Pharmacist today.
Health screenings not available in MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NV, OR, PA, RI, VT, or WY. Health screenings are available in limited locations only in PA and DE.