While the A1c reading is still the most common assessment of how well a person’s diabetes is being managed, it is not without limitations. Chief among them are the inability to represent sudden spikes in glucose levels (blood glucose excursions), lack of insight into how day-to-day variables affect blood glucose values, and lack of insight into low glucose excursions. Also, patients who use blood glucose monitors and are used to seeing blood sugar reported in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) may struggle to understand what a “good” A1c value is and what the connection is between their A1c and their average glucose.
Time in range (TIR) and points in range (PIR) were developed to give patients and healthcare providers the insight needed to more fully assess patient needs, understand the impact of treatment, and make better treatment decisions. These measurements are also possible predictors of future complications. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between TIR and PIR and how they can help you.
What Is Time in Range?
Time in range measures the percentage of time you spend in the following blood glucose ranges throughout the day:
- Target range (TIR)
- Above range (TAR)
- Below range (TBR)
The recommended target range for most people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is 70–180 mg/dl. The recommended in-range time is at least 70% of the day.
Unlike an A1c test, which measures average blood sugar levels over the past three months, TIR offers an in-depth look at daily blood glucose fluctuations. It helps the tester understand how foods, behaviors, and medications influence blood sugar levels. However, accurate TIR measurements rely on frequent glucose readings by a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). To use TIR to help manage your diabetes, wearing a CGM for 14 days is recommended.
Though CGMs have their advantages, they also have disadvantages, and continuous glucose monitoring is not the method of testing used by most people with diabetes. Therefore, an alternative to TIR was developed.
What Is Points in Range?
The points in range method is similar to time in range but designed for people who prefer to use blood glucose meters (BGMs) rather than CGMs. It measures how often blood glucose levels are within the following point ranges:
- Target range (PIR)
- Above range (PAR)
- Below range (PBR)
A point is typically considered to be in range when it’s between 70 and 180 mg/dL. However, this can be individualized; for example, the lower limit might be adjusted upward to 80 or 90 mg/dL.
So, what’s the difference between time in range and points in range??
Unlike CGMs, which provide continuous readings, a BGM only provides readings for the specific point in time when you check your blood sugar. This means you can’t use a BGM to determine how much time you spend in a particular range, but it can tell you how often your measurements are within range.
How to Make the Most of Your Measurements
Both time in range and points in range offer real-world information that can help you and your healthcare provider better manage your diabetes and minimize risks. And the more measurements you have, the better off you’ll be.
If you prefer to use BGMs instead of CGMs, a device that makes testing fast and simple can help you gather enough data for meaningful PIR results. An automatic blood glucose monitor like POGO Automatic® Monitor can be a great choice.
POGO Automatic is an innovative all-in-one device that eliminates the need for separate lancets and test strips, making checking your blood sugar quick, easy, and discreet. Your readings can be synced with the free Patterns® for POGO Automatic app, where data is turned into user-friendly visuals to help you and your healthcare provider track and manage glucose trends. Patterns integrates seamlessly with many other popular wellness apps to give you a better understanding of your overall health and help you explore the relationships between your blood sugar levels and other variables.
When it comes to diabetes management, knowledge is power. The right methods and tools give you and your healthcare provider the insights you need to set yourself up for success.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.