How often should A1C and blood sugar levels be measured?
Keeping blood sugar levels on target is extremely important to prevent blood sugar drops and spikes that can lead to a variety of complications. For example, when your blood sugar drops too low, this can lead to hypoglycemia and when it gets too high it can lead to hyperglycemia and other complications.
Experts recommend checking your A1C every three months when your blood sugar levels are not on target or when you are incorporating any new changes to diabetes management (i.e., new medications). Once you are on target, A1C testing can happen every six months.
Checking your blood sugar at home using a blood glucose monitor is a good way to ensure you are on track. The frequency of how often you should test depends on many factors such as:
- the type of diabetes you have
- the type of medication you are using (e.g. those on insulin or other medications that can cause low blood sugar should test more frequently)
- if you are pregnant
- newly diagnosed, or
- after medication changes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your diabetes healthcare team may recommend testing as often as 4 to 10 times a day. For those living with type 2 diabetes the frequency will depend on your treatment plan but can range from testing a few times a week to several times a day. Your healthcare team will advise you on the most suitable testing frequency based on your individual situation.
Checking A1C through your routine medical appointments and monitoring blood sugar levels in between these appointments are both important ways to assess how your diabetes management plan is working for you. Remember that keeping your blood sugar and A1C as close to target as possible will help delay or prevent complications associated with diabetes.