Tag Archives: sharing A1c

Why There is Nothing Wrong With Sharing Your A1c

Why do some people with diabetes share their A1c? Why do some not share that info? For various reasons, of course. I support people doing what they feel is right to do for themselves. If you don’t want to share your A1c or weight or the square footage of your home, I respect that.

Why do I share my A1c? Because I used to think that normal or near-normal blood sugars were not something I would ever get to enjoy as a type 1 diabetic…until I heard that some people like me had A1c levels in the 4-5% range and I thought, “wait a minute? this is possible? It couldn’t be…how do they do it?”

Their A1c level was like a signal for me. It led me to seek out these people and what they were doing to get that A1c. It led me to figure out what might help me improve my blood sugars. Along the way, I had to learn how to avoid lows and what technology best served me and how insulin works. But, I eventually became one of those people with a “normal A1c” and darned straight I’m going to tell people about it because others once did me a huge favor by telling me!

That said, I don’t care if no one cares about my A1c. What matters to me is why I share. I think it might be helpful to someone and I’m willing to spend time sharing on that hope.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your A1c because it doesn’t hurt anyone to do so. Some say it does hurt some people’s feelings but so does announcing a pregnancy, engagement, or job raise.

Those who insist on speaking for others need to think twice–are you sure they want you to speak for them? Those whose feelings are hurt who notice that others are doing just fine with the same information may want to look inward and consider that shame or jealousy may need to be addressed. I say that because someone gave me that line and I found that focusing on my personal issues was a life saver. Who cares if someone shares their health data? Not me.

Feb 2013 Test Results and Why It’s Good to Get the Details

I haven’t posted an A1c in a while.  Let’s face it I haven’t posted anything in a while but in that time frame I’ve received emails like, “So, you’re A1c is suddenly not good enough to share?!”  No…I just haven’t made it to the endo, lately.  Sometimes that low $30 co-pay IS a deterrent.  That and fear of course.  So I finally did go and here are the results.  My A1c is 5.9, the highest it’s been in the past 6-7 years.  I drank regular coffee before my appointment to see if I could bump up my blood pressure since lately it’s been in normal range as long as I exercise regularly and avoid caffeine and sure enough, I was 130/80.  I got it tested again a few days later while having had no caffeine and I was 110/71.  WOW, is all I have to say.  And no more regular coffee for me, ever!

About my A1c, in order to be fair and transparent, it sounds fantastic but, it’s a reflection of more swings in blood sugar than my last A1c which was 5.7 so I really have more work to do- even though it wouldn’t appear that way.  And that’s the point with my sharing my A1c and the other tests along with that.  Because if you’ll notice below where I post pictures of my results, I have an MCHC test in high range and in my case it means Vit B 12 and Folic acid deficiencies (having ruled out liver disease as a possibility).  This winter was tough financially so we didn’t purchase many foods high in those vitamins and when we did I left my portion to my kids since they are at a more crucial state of development.  I eat a lot of vegetables but meat and seafood sure seem to boost vitamin B 12 levels more than anything else.  So I will try to include more of those foods now for sure.  That and get all of us on a multi-vitamin.  The other thing I want to mention is that it seems that having a deficiency in B12 and Folic Acid affects red blood cell life (from what I read).  Our A1c test reflects our blood sugars over the past 2-3 months because that’s how long those cells live before they are replaced with new ones.  If mine are dying more quickly my A1c would reflect a period of time less than 2-3 months.  So there is that.  Though I’m not sure about how all that works.

By the way, I found this out by asking my doctor’s office for my detailed results as you see below.  Otherwise they send me a sheet of paper stating what my A1c is and letting me know that everything else is “normal”.  When I got my paperwork this time around I asked for all the exact test result data and found out those vitamin deficiencies (good to know so I can actually do something about it) and I found out a high bilirubin count which in my case (due to unshared personal data) seems like a genetic thing and leads me to attempt some liver detox to see if that helps (like juicing beets).  It doesn’t seem to be anything serious except it possibly causes chronic fatigue and mild jaundice and that’s no fun.

So anyway, here are the results.  I just want to point out that at some point my triglycerides, cholesterol, and thyroid levels were all abnormal and now they’re not.  Not always, but often, these things can absolutely be helped with changes in lifestyle habits.  Worked for me and it’s something I keep putting effort into.





To Share or Not to Share the A1c


This post is largely a reply to an interesting post by Moira McCarthy who has a daughter with type 1 and blogs at Despite Diabetes.  She makes great points about the Diabetes Online Community being more careful with the way they share A1c results.  I agree with that but I feel strongly on the subject of feeling shame.  I used to feel a lot of pain, shame, and jealousy but no longer since changing my way of thinking in the last few years.  It’s a much happier way and this is what I’ve learned:

First of all, I can’t help but ask…

Should we not share news of a pregnancy because it may bring shame to someone who can’t get pregnant?

Should those who get job promotions not share their happy news so as not to shame the unemployed?

Do we not buy a nice car because those unable to afford it might be ashamed?

Should I not mention my weight because someone heavier could be ashamed?

I couldn’t afford a Christmas tree last year, does that mean no one should have put one up so as not to make me feel ashamed?

Should we all take off our jewelry and wear frumpy clothes as we walk past the homeless?

Does it hurt you to know that someone else has “more” than you?  Looks “better” than you?  If so, the problem is not them, it’s deep within you, or us, rather.  If that sounds harsh, don’t worry, this happens to every one of us at some point or other.  We’re all in the same boat, trying to do our best with what we have or don’t have.

I appreciate people sharing their A1c’s because it’s information and some of us really like information.  For those who don’t, don’t pay any mind.  And certainly don’t let that make you feel bad.  I’m sure you have plenty of qualities I wish I had.

When we feel shame, the root issue has less to do with other people and more to do with our self esteem and to think the answer is other people’s actions makes us victims of ourselves.  To feel shame means to lack confidence or to feel guilty or fearful or unsure of one’s actions.  I’ve felt enough shame during my most difficult years with diabetes to know that when I feel it, I feel guilty that I haven’t been doing what I would like to be doing.  This causes me to reflect and know that I have issues to tend to or feelings to release and acknowledge.  Nowadays, instead of feel shame, I try hard to just be open to the truth.  What do I need to change or do differently?  I try to focus on doing my best and when I fail I feel a lot better than I used to because I have an inner confidence that no one can take away from me.  I don’t do this 100% of the time but with practice and mindfulness it does get easier.

One of the best things children can be taught is to be responsible for their own feelings and thoughts and actions.  You allow yourself to feel blame, shame, and guilt.  To point to others for doing this to you is to remove responsibility from yourself and to lose your power and potential.

It’s true that many people and situations out there can illicit painful, shameful feelings in us.  This is because we’re human.  But, we need to spread the message that also, because we’re human, we have this amazing ability to learn how to accept ourselves the way we are, be completely conscious of our own potential, and be aware of how to respect others.

Maybe we shouldn’t share our A1c’s without all the honesty we can attach to it.  I have learned not to just fling out my A1c and say all is well.  I have a non diabetics A1c but I make it a point to tell people that I am aware of how that A1c is still very different from a non diabetics.  A low A1c doesn’t make me feel certain that no harm will come my way.  It’s as important to me as my blood pressure and lipid profile because it’s all valuable information.  When I share my A1c  I try to explain what I sacrifice and what I do in order to get there.  I’ve mentioned that being at home all day makes things easier and others don’t have that advantage.  Recently I mentioned that due to low hematocrit levels my A1c is possibly reflecting a lower number than it really is.  I also explain that years ago when I had low A1c’s they were a mix of many highs and lows and it was not at all ideal or healthy.  And I have talked about my high A1c’s and why I think they happened and how my experience with them has been.  When others do the same I feel like I learn more and gain insight.  I do however, appreciate when others share the broader story to go along with that number and that’s what I try to do, too.

I totally agree that no one should be using an A1c in a bragging manner or as a way to feel more credibility or to try and bully someone else.  But rudeness come in all forms, every day, and we have to be strong and confident in the face of it.  Especially since we’ve all done a rude thing before and can understand how easy it is to make that mistake.  Not to mention, sometimes all it takes to be rude is to be happy for yourself and someone feel unhappy about themselves.

All in all I hope that next time you see an A1c that bothers you, ask yourself why that is.  Then follow your own path to feeling better.  The first step is to take responsibility for your own feelings.  All you need to feel better and do better is within you.  No one deserves to feel badly about themselves when they have diabetes.  This disease works against our self esteem every single day.  I think we can learn to have more days where we are confident and self assured.  I know I have more of those days than I used to and it’s worth it.

There is no room for guilt, or shame, or blame, just respect, love, and understanding.

Thank you, Moira, for gracefully shedding light on this issue.  I write this post because of my own experience with shame and my opinion about how we should strive to completely own our feelings.  However, I do agree that if each person sharing an A1c (or any great info for that matter) thinks of those who aren’t in the same place, a kinder way of sharing will emerge.

In my opinion, if you have a great A1c or blood pressure or toddlers that talk (mine don’t), or a full bank account (mine isn’t) then share away.  I’m happy for you.