Dexcom Tells Me More Than My A1C

Last week, as I was driving to my appointment with my endocrinologist, fighting horrible traffic to get there I started to question, really, why was this appointment even necessary. My last appointment was only 3 months ago.

My main reasons for these appointments have always been:

  1. to find out my A1C and
  2. to get prescription refills.

That’s pretty much it. But now, I have a Dexcom, and I look at the Clarity app often enough that I know what my “predicted” A1C is.  Besides that, I think my trend graph is way more important than that A1c number anyway.  An A1C could spit out an impressive number, even if someone didn’t have very tight control on their blood sugars.  As long as the average works out to be something within a good range, the A1C might deceivingly seem “good”even if your control isn’t.

One thing I love about my endocrinologists office is that you get an immediate result of your A1c test.  Last week, mine came back as .5% higher than what the Dexcom Clarity app predicted.  When I told my doctor, he said “we pay more attention to Dexcom results than the lab work.”  I didn’t ask why or for any further explanation, but it’s how I’ve felt about it all along and I’m happy with how things have been going so, I’m just sticking with what my Dexcom is telling me.

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The Dexcom Clarity App on my iPhone.

It seems like an A1C result isn’t as important as it used to be now that we have more advanced technology.  I can see graphs of what my blood sugar is doing every 5 minutes of the day with my Dexcom CGM.  I can get a predicted A1c for a 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, or 90 day period with the Dexcom Clarity app.  Even better, if I access Clarity from my computer, I can see all sorts of trend graphs to see where where and when my “problem” blood sugars are. I pay a lot more attention to whether or not my blood sugars are staying within my target range than anything else.  The actual A1C or average of those readings is far less important to me than simply staying in my ideal range as often as possible.

I’ve tightened that range little by little.  I think when I first had a Dexcom, I had an alarm set for a high of 180- maybe even 200.  Now I keep my low alarm set for 65 (that hasn’t changed), and my high at 150.  These days, it’s a rarity for me to have a blood sugar that ever gets (or at least stays for long) above 170.  Of course, it still happens from time to time, but thanks to having the alarm set for 150, I can be proactive and avoid those highs I use to battle. Treating a slightly elevated blood sugar is a lot more manageable than treating one that gets way up there.

My endo told me to make my next appointment in 4 to 6 months.  Of course, I chose 6 months.  Unless something new comes up, there’s no reason for me to go any sooner than that. I get more meaningful information about my blood sugars from my Dexcom than an A1c result is ever going to tell me.

 

Type 1 Isn’t Just for Juveniles

There are a lot of misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve been told that I don’t look diabetic. I’ve been asked if my diabetes has gotten any better– as if I’m sick but on the road to recovery. I’ve had people assume I’ve had diabetes since childhood. Anyone that lives with Type 1 has probably heard these things and a whole host of others.

I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed. The misinformed often think this adult-aged onset of Type 1 is rare.  But it isn’t. I think it’s the main reason why Type 1 is no longer referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.  For one, not everyone is a juvenile when they get it.  More importantly, it isn’t just a condition you have at a young age.  Once you have it, you’re always going to have it.  Changing your diet, losing weight, taking medication, or taking some supplement isn’t going to make Type 1 Diabetes go away. You don’t get Type 1 because of your lifestyle, and you can’t get rid of it by making lifestyle changes either. It’s an auto-immune disease.

I’ve met and heard from lots of other Type 1s that were diagnosed as adults.  Many of them were first wrongly told they had Type 2 based on their age. Oral medications (often used in treating Type 1 Diabetes) and/or changing their diet did nothing to help reel in their ever climbing blood sugars. Of course, eventually, they ended up going to a doctor that actually knew a thing or two, and got the correct diagnosis before they died.

The bottom line is this.  Type 1 is an auto immune disease.  Type 2 is NOT. Age is NOT the defining difference between the two conditions. Type 1 effects people of all ages. It is not simply Juvenile Diabetes.