Diabetes Abbreviations

Many patients find Blood Sugar abbreviations to be confusing

Are you ever confused about all the terms that are used relating to your diabetes? Many patients say that they are, especially if a term has more than one abbreviation.

 For instance, do you know the difference between a Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), a Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG)  and a Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)? In fact, they are all the same thing in which a test that tells how much “sugar” (glucose) is in your blood stream before you have eaten anything.  The normal range for a fasting blood sugar is below 100. 

Another test that often confuses patients is the hemoglobin A1C, also known as (are you ready?) HbA1c, A1C, glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin or glycated hemoglobin!

The HbA1C is a blood test that tells your average blood sugar over a 2-3 month time period. What you ate the night before the HbA1c blood test does not affect the result. The test can be done at any time of the day in a lab using a sample of blood from your arm. You do not need to be fasting to have an HbA1c blood test done and it is usually done every 3-6 months. People without diabetes will have an HbA1c below 6.

The difference between the 2 types of tests is this. The FBS (FBG or FPG) tells you what your blood sugar is at one moment in time (the time the blood is drawn). The HbA1c lets you see how your blood sugars have averaged over the last couple of months. Increasing HbA1c numbers may indicate a need for a change in medication, diet or activity level. Your Primary Care Physician or Specialist will evaluate this with you and come up with an action plan that will help you achieve better control of your blood sugar.