Most people associate blood sugar testing exclusively with diabetes testing. But when performing routine screening for heart disease, I highly recommend having a fasting HbA1c test and a fasting insulin test.
Both the HbA1c test and the insulin test measure how much glucose is in your blood, and they are especially important if you are overweight or are a woman whose waist measures more than 35 inches or a man whose waist measures more than 40 inches. These body measurements are one indication of metabolic syndrome—a widely prevalent but symptomless condition that often precedes the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The Importance of Blood Sugar Testing Numbers
It’s important to have both of these blood sugar tests because the fasting insulin test measures the insulin level, while the HbA1c test measures the average amount of glucose in your blood over the past several weeks. Together they provide the most comprehensive picture of your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which are both important when assessing heart disease risk.
My Sinatra Smart Zone recommendations include:
- Around 80 mg/dL for an optimal fasting blood sugar level;
- A1C is 5.6 and below for optimal hemoglobin A1C (A suitable level is 5.7-5.9, and if it's over 6 I get concerned);
- And less than 17 uU/mL for an optimal fasting insulin level.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Heart Tests
What other heart tests should you consider? Get information on the array of heart disease tests I use when evaluating and treating my own patients.
Undergoing heart disease testing but unsure what your scores indicate? Get my Sinatra Smart Zone values for a wide array of heart tests to ensure optimal heart health.
Want to read detailed questions and answers about different heart tests? Check out the Q&A section of my Heart Disease Tests Health Center.