The Onion On My Internet Belt

Posts tagged ‘A1C’

Black Box Lunch, A1C, and the mix for 10-3-14

My current job has returned me to a building I worked in for the bulk of my career here so far. There are two small areas of chairs in the foyer of the building set in a square with a low square table in the middle. I tend to eat my lunch in this space. I had forgotten that those two spaces often and accidentally act as intimate black box theaters. On Tuesday I was treated to two lunch time shows: “The Loudest Salad Eater in the World” followed by a social commentary piece where an elderly man reads a paper and says “Dumb ass” at random intervals, volumes, and intonations. On days where there are no performances, I just read a book or look out the window. I enjoy this space.

This week also saw my twice annual visit with my endocrinologist. At that meeting we discussed one of my blood work results called glycosylated hemoglobin, or A1C for short. “The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three 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.” (Thanks!).
Traditionally the A1C has been the indisputable proof of effort. No matter what conversations I had with my doctor, no matter what written records I brought in, the A1C had the final word. Over the years the time, amount of blood, and accuracy of the A1C (or what I was told about it) has wobbled. Originally it was a vial of blood and three weeks for 6 months of accuracy. Now it is a capillary tube, three minutes, and two months of accuracy.

That’s a One Touch Ultra and the penlet that draws blood from your finger in that picture. I’ve had mine for about ten years. It’s the companion to my Dexcom G4.

Not this time. Because of the Dexcom 4G CGM (see previous posts about the topic of the continuous glucose monitor) I wear, I learned some important things. First, the data on the cgm is downloadable and printable. I don’t need to write it down anymore. The data points are vastly more numerous. Instead of 4 or 5 readings a day, I’ve got weeks of readings at 5 minute intervals. I had gone in a week previous to have my blood drawn for all the standard tests (proteins, lipids, A1C, etc). The result was a very disappointing A1C of 8. My goal was an A1C of 7, or at most by my calculations, a 7.3. What was so disheartening about this 8 was my previous (by 6 months) A1C had been a 7.6. Surely with the vast additional monitoring horsepower of the Dexcom I would be closer to a healthy number, right?
Here is where the learning comes in. So both my cgm and my standard blood glucose meter (where you harvest the blood of your fingertips for science) said my average blood sugar was between 145-150mg/dl. My doctor noticed this as well and waived off the A1C as less accurate than the data we had. We used a couple other tools/graphs to calculate my A1C at 6.8 to 7.1. Those are primo numbers! Hooray for the data driven approach.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 10.3.14

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are generally ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Gateway Drugs – Sonogram – Cubists.
Infiltration – Trifonic – Emergence.
Ruined In A Day (Reunited In A Day Remix) – New Order – World (The Price Of Love).
In The Waiting Line – Zero 7 – Garden State.
Water from A Vine Leaf (Underworld Remix) – William Orbit – The Best Of Strange Cargos.
Easy Peasy – Fluke – Progressive History XXX [Disc 1].
Private Life Drama (Sly & Robbie Dub) – Grace Jones – Renaissance 3D.
The Weight Of Darkening Skies – Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way To Fall.
Circling – Four Tet – There Is Love In You.
Virginie L – Lloyd Cole & Hans-Joachim Roedelius – Selected Studies Vol. 1.
Stargirl – Mike Monday – Om 15.
On We March – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Social Network.
Hole To Feed – Depeche Mode – Sounds Of The Universe.