Cheap Accurate Home HbA1c Test

Walmart sells a kit for home measurement of HbA1c (brand name ReliOn) that costs $9 and provides results by email. It’s sold only at Walmart. I have been paying $30 for the same measurement at a test center (about 30 minutes away). If you use insurance, copay might be $15. Without insurance, a doctor’s office test might cost $90. The reviews suggest the test has roughly the same variability and average as a lab test. A few people had trouble getting enough blood on the dots but at $9 there is plenty of room for repeat testing.

My blood sugar improved when I started to walk an hour per day and when I started intermittent fasting (eating about half as much as usual every other day). I noticed the effects with blood sugar tests but frequent HbA1c tests (say, once/week) would have been much better.

Diabetes has become an enormous problem in China, where 10% of adults have Type 2 diabetes, roughly the same as in America. Americans often think obesity causes diabetes but this doesn’t explain why smoking — which makes people thinner — is associated with diabetes. People get diabetes who don’t smoke and aren’t fat. Whether anyone who walks an hour/day gets diabetes is less clear.

Thanks to Shant Mesrobian.

5 Replies to “Cheap Accurate Home HbA1c Test”

  1. Seth, this may be another example of how associations/correlations can lead us astray. What if smoking per se has nothing to do with getting diabetes? What if obesity per se has nothing to do with getting diabetes? After all, most smokers and most obese people do not have diabetes, right?

    “As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right? Could the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around? A look at how assumptions may be leading us to wage the wrong medical war.”

    What do many smokers and many obese people have in common besides diabetes? What do the smokers and obese people without diabetes have in common? Etc.

  2. Seth, perhaps clarify this sentence:
    “People get diabetes who don’t smoke and aren’t fat. ”

    I couldn’t parse it.

    Seth: Some diabetics (a) aren’t fat and (b) don’t smoke.

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