To me it is amazing the number of people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes who not only can’t tell you what their last hbA1c level was, but honestly don’t know what I am referring to when I am gathering information vital for finding them the best possible rate for life insurance.
Before I lay all the blame on the folks that have diabetes, allow me to spread it around just a bit. We do have a real problem with doctors who either don’t want to take the time to educate their patients, or don’t think their patients are intelligent enough to understand the importance and significance of glycosylated hemoglobin. Again, I don’t know if it’s a time thing or if doctors really do want to keep their clients in the dark so they can just keep on treating. It seems to me if you give a type 2 diabetic enough knowledge about the disease, the risk factors, how to manage and how to monitor, they might just end up cured.
But back to the other side of the coin now. Now that we know doctors aren’t taking the time, patients have to educate themselves. If you have diabetes and don’t educate yourself about it, you might never understand that there is a way off that merry go round.
So, why is you hbA1c so important to life insurance underwriters. Unlike your daily or more often glucose tests, he hbA1c can give an underwriter a clear picture of how your glucose levels have done over a 2-3 month period. Let’s face it. People aren’t out looking for high readings when they check their glucose, so they tend to take it at times when it is naturally lower. The hbA1c takes that factor out of it. If you normally check your glucose first thing in the morning and it is 120 but you never check it right after lunch when it is 250, you have kind a skewed view of your diabetes control.
Underwriters know that part of the story isn’t known or isn’t being told when an applicant says their average glucose is 140 and their hbA1c on the labs is 8.4. Somewhere in between this 140 and the next 140 are scattered some dangerously high readings. If your doctor tells you about the hbA1c or if you educate yourself about it and ask your doctor to tell you what it is each time he does a full blood workup, you can fill in those blanks and know if you are headed toward other health issues brought on by out of control diabetes.
Bottom line. Ultimately the ball is in your court. I would guess that 75% of those with diabetes that I ask about their A1c, don’t know it or haven’t heard of it. Not just for the sake of better life insurance rates, but for the quality of your life, or your life itself, it’s time to wake up and learn about your disease. Make it your goal to learn enough to manage your own diabetes right back into the closet it came from.