Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Standard Deviation

Well, I went for my quarterly diabetes update.  The one where I get the results of my A1C test.

If you want a detailed explanation of what that is, feel free to peruse a blog I wrote back in February about it.

My doctor came in, sat down and said that my A1C was 7.3

"What??  How did that happen??" was my response.

She came back with "Is that higher or lower than you were expecting?"

"Higher!  Last time, I was 6.9".

She laughed and said that I was the only person she works with at the Diabetes Centre who gets upset by a 7.3 or by a change of 0.4 from the previous test.

She explained that it really doesn't take much to go from 6.9 to 7.3.  She also explained that there is a standard deviation that we have to take into consideration.  In other words, when they test A1C and come back with a number - what's the margin of error.  She didn't give me an exact number but I did a quick internet search and a standard deviation of +/- 0.4 seems pretty typical.

It's been almost twenty years since my first year stats class (which I got 51% in by the way) but here's how I understand it.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

My last three A1Cs were:


If I include the standard deviation, here's how they look.

6.7 - 7.5
6.4 - 7.3
6.9 - 7.7

So, my 7.3 from today might be a 6.9 and my 6.9 from last time could be closer to a 7.3.

I can see why she laughed when I was annoyed at my results.

Fair enough.

I also asked about my recent problem of my ears plugging up during long runs.  She asked about blood sugar - I said it was high once but then normal the other times.  She asked about allergies - I have the dust/cat/dog allergies but there are no other symptoms other than plugged ears so I don't think that allergies are the cause. I asked about low blood pressure (thanks for the tip Selena).  She didn't seem to think so and said that my blood pressure would most likely be high and not low during a run.

She referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.  The appointment is booked for December 15th.

Including the marathon, I have four more runs that should be long enough for my ears to plug.  I'll see if I can find any sort of clue as to the cause. I'll test my sugar, I'll drink my water.  And we'll see if any patterns emerge.

All this figuring out is kinda fun.  I like it because it forces me to be even more in tune with my body, with what I'm doing to it, with what I'm putting into it and with how it's feeling.  I do best when my body and I work closely together.  We have been the best of friends these last few months as we train for a marathon together.

We only get one body.

Best take care of it.

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