TWD: Long-term Health and HbA1c on the Road

On August 1, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

At the moment, we’re back on American soil for Cassie’s brother’s wedding and some fun family beach time. That also means it’s time my first doctor’s appointment since my diagnosis and my HbA1c test. Specifically, it’s time for a blood test to measure how well I’ve been managing my blood sugar over the last few months.

hba1c-diabetic-toolkit-notepad

Keeping track of everything I ate and all of my blood sugar numbers worked!!

One of the critical tests of long-term health for Type 1 Diabetics (and maybe Type 2 as well?) is your HbA1c, which measures your glycated haemoglobin. That’s a fancy way of saying it measures your blood sugar over a long period of time. The normal range is between 4%-6%. The goal for diabetics is to keep their HbA1c right around or below 7%. Too much higher than 7% and you put yourself at risk of serious long-term health problems.

When I had my HbA1c tested at the hospital in Nepal, it came in at 12%. That’s astronomically high. My blood sugar was at 400 (normal range: 80-120) and had probably been at 300-400 for a few weeks. If I kept that up for long enough, I’d be guaranteeing myself some serious health problems down the road.

hba1c-diabetic-toolkit-humalog-pens

TIME FOR MY HBA1C TEST

I immediately changed my diet and was very strict about keeping track of my blood sugar. I still keep a notebook of every blood sugar measurement since about a week after I was diagnosed. I also track what I eat at each meal and how much insulin I take for what I eat. It’s tedious, but it’s been effective and helpful. And I packed my diabetic toolkit that had everything I need to be healthy on the road.

So when we returned to the States after another 5 post-diagnosis months on the road, it was time to get my HbA1c tested again. For reasons that you can read about here, your HbA1c effectively resets every 3 months. If I did my job right in managing my blood sugar, my HbA1c should no longer be at 12%. Not even close to that.

hba1c-diabetic-toolkit-everything

My diabetic toolkit

DRUM ROLL PLEASE….

My HbA1c came in at 5.6%, and I am ready to celebrate! It’s not only encouraging that I am back to being healthy, but it’s great that I was able to do that on the road, eating a smorgasbord of foods that I didn’t recognize while in countries where I didn’t speak the language. I mean, does anyone really know what’s in the sauce that goes with duck tongue?

And just to make it clear to everyone, I’m celebrating with ice cream. Turkey Hill Choco Mint Chip. Need I say more?

-O.L.

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3 Responses to “TWD: Long-term Health and HbA1c on the Road”

  • Yes hbA1C’s are also kept in close watch for type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar regulation is the issue for both, they just have different causes. And have you been traveling so long that you use European spellings now? (i.e. Haemoglobin). Very glad to hear your levels are regulated!

    • Ha! I didn’t realize that was the British spelling. I’ll have to change that. I did a quick search to check the spelling, and that’s what came up. I promise I will never spell flavor or color with a “u” in there!

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