Hba1c Levels And Targets
But everyones different. So your healthcare team may give you an individual target level that takes into account your current level and when your next test is. So you can bring it down in stages and isnt a sudden big drop.
And were not saying its easy to get to and stay at this level. We know its difficult, and were here to give you advice and information to help.
Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
More Information About An A1c Level Of 61
An A1C level of 6.1 may be written on a lab report simply as 6.1 or 6.1%.
For those familiar with estimated average glucose, or eAG, A1C levels convert quite easily to mg/dl using the formula 28.7 x A1C 46.7 = eAG mg/dl. This means an A1C of 6.1 would be equal to 128 mg/dl. Mg/dl is typically used in the United States and stands for miligrams per deciliter.
Similarly, you can convert A1C levels to mmol/l by using the formula / 18 = eAG mmol/l. This means an A1C of 6.1 would be equal to 7.1 mmol/l. Mmol/l stands for millimoles per litre and is typically used in the United Kingdom.
You can view an exhaustive A1C conversion chart right on this website.
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Heart Disease And Stroke
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of heart disease. Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage nerves and blood vessels that control the heart.
Diabetics also tend to develop heart disease younger than those without diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is you also have heart disease.
Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It is caused by the buildup of plaque in the walls of the coronary arteriesâthe blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
Decreased blood flow to the brain can also cause a stroke. Diabetes is linked to an increased risk of stroke and higher rates of mortality from stroke.
Diabetes also increases your risk of other heart disease risk factors. These include:
Diabetic eye diseases can largely be prevented by managing your blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood glucose levels damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes.
Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid and cause swelling. New blood vessels that form may be weak. These blood vessels can bleed into the middle part of the eye, cause scarring, or dangerously increase pressure inside your eye.
Diabetic eye changes are often without symptoms at first. Eye damage can begin during the prediabetes stage and typically progresses slowly.
Setting Goals For A1c Levels
The target A1c level for people with diabetes is usually less than 7%. The higher the hemoglobin A1c, the higher your risk of having complications related to diabetes. Someone who has had untreated diabetes for a long time might have a level above 8%.
If you have diabetes and your level is above your target, your doctor may change your treatment plan to get your level down.
A combination of diet, exercise, and medication can bring your levels down.
People with diabetes should have an A1c test every 3 months to make sure their blood sugar is in their target range. If your diabetes is under good control, you may be able to wait longer between the blood tests. But experts recommend checking at least two times a year.
People with diseases affecting hemoglobin, such as anemia, may get misleading results with this test. Other things that can affect the results of the hemoglobin A1c include supplements such as vitamins C and E and high cholesterol levels. Kidney disease and liver disease may also affect the test.
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Why Should A Person Get The A1c Test
Testing can help health care professionals
- find prediabetes and counsel you about lifestyle changes to help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes
- find type 2 diabetes
- work with you to monitor the disease and help make treatment decisions to prevent complications
If you have risk factors for prediabetes or diabetes, talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
Risks Of Chronic High Blood Glucose Level
You already know how to calculate A1c levels, but what should you do with the result? If your level is less than 5.7% – congratulations – this is a normal A1c level, and you have nothing to worry about. Maintain your healthy habits and keep your blood sugar level low.
If you drifted into the prediabetes group – that’s a red flag. You’re at a high risk of diabetes, but there is still hope. Check out the How to lower A1c? section for some hints. Do not neglect this result, as chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to severe consequences, including:
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases – myocardial infarction or brain stroke
- Problems getting pregnant
- Diabetic foot, potentially leading to amputation!
If your A1c level is equal to or higher than 6.5%, you may be diagnosed as diabetic. If this is your result, book an appointment with your doctor immediately!
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How To Calculate Your A1c
The Hemoglobin A1c test is a blood test used to measure the average blood glucose concentration in your body in the past 1-3 months. For diabetics, this is the standard way of determining how well the diabetes is controlled. An A1c of less than 7% is considered good. Getting the test every 3 months is usually enough. But sometimes you may want to just estimate your A1c level based on the data from your regular self-tests. The formula below could help in this case. Accuracy, of course, could vary depending on how often and when you check your blood sugar. I found it pretty accurate last time I used it. My calculation was off only by 0.1%. This is the same formula GlucoseTracker uses in the app’s dashboard. Glucose in mg/dL: A1c = / 28.7 Glucose in mmol/L: A1c = / 1.59 So, for example, if your average blood glucose level in the past 3 months is 130 mg/dL , your estimated A1c is 6.15%. There are also cheaper devices you can buy that will allow you to do the actual A1c tests yourself, like this one. If you need to do these tests more often, say every month, then it could save you money in the long run as lab tests could get expensive. It may not be as accurate as the lab tests, but my guess is it’s probably good enough.Continue reading > >
What Changes They Have Made To The A1c Guidelines
For most adults, the American Diabetes Association currently recommends an A1C of less than 7%, a TIR of over 70%, and a time below the range of less than 4%. In past years, the Standards of Care contained an A1C Testing section that advised diabetics to test their A1C two to four times a year with an A1C target of less than 7%.
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Use This Chart To View A1c Values And Comparable Blood Glucose Values:
A note of caution: the A1c measurement is not always accurate. For example, if someone has certain type of hemoglobin mutations , is severely anemic , iron deficient or is being treated blood transfusions or medications to increase the production of new red blood cells, the A1c test may not be accurate.
If your finger-stick blood tests give an average blood sugar that is much higher or lower than your A1c test, ask your doctor if the A1c is the right test for you. An alternative test to the A1c is a fructosamine test. Unfortunately, the fructosamine test and the A1c are not interchangeable because they are measuring different things. The fructosamine test reflects the average blood sugars only over a 2-3 week period.
What Is Hemoglobin A1c
To explain what hemoglobin A1c is, think in simple terms. Sugar sticks to things, and when it has been stuck to something for a long time, its harder to get the sugar off. In the body, sugar sticks too, particularly to proteins. The red blood cells that circulate in the body live for about three months before they die. When sugar sticks to these red blood cells by binding to hemoglobin A1c, it gives the doctor an idea of how much glucose has been around in the blood for the preceding three months. Hemoglobin A1c is a minor component of hemoglobin to which glucose binds. Hemoglobin A1c levels depend on blood glucose concentrations. The higher the sugar concentration in the blood, the higher the detectable hemoglobin A1c levels. At any point in time, hemoglobin A1c levels represent the average blood sugar concentrations in the person with diabetes for approximately the preceding 3 months. Other ways hemoglobin A1c may be termed include HbA1c, A1c, and Hb1c.
In a healthy person, the A1c level is less than 6% of the total hemoglobin. It is recommended that treatment of diabetes be directed at keeping an individual A1c level as close to the normal range .
- In most labs, the normal range for hemoglobin A1c is 4% to 5.9%.
- In well-controlled diabetic patients, hemoglobin A1c levels are less than 7.0%.
- In poorly controlled diabetes, its level is 8.0% or above.
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Why Is My A1c High
As blood sugar level rises, so do A1C levels. A high A1C indicates that blood sugar control is not optimal. This in itself is not an emergency, but it gives your healthcare provider a picture of how blood glucose has, or has not, been controlled, says Dr. Williams.
Poor diabetes control or a need for medication adjustments might cause higher A1C. Diet changes, daily exercise, or medication adjustments might quickly lower A1C. Because Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, adjustments to ones treatment might be a part of the process of controlling diabetes. Poor diabetes control does not always mean a patient is doing something wrong. But there are other reasons why levels might be high.
As previously mentioned, other health conditions can cause skewed results. These include kidney disease, anemia, liver disease, asplenia, blood loss, hypothyroidism, uremia, and sickle cell anemia. Other factors that might lead to a high A1C level include increased age, pregnancy, and gestational diabetes.
When Combining Keto And : 2 Intermittent Fasting On Fasting Days Do You Still Follow The Macro Guidelines For Keto
On the two days of fasting, should the 500 calories consumed be of the same macro proportions as followed on the normal keto days? Or can you consume 500 calories of any food without going out of ketosis?
I dont generally recommend people to count calories. Fasting means not eating anything at all, so there is no counting macros. Dr. Mosleys 5:2 diet allows 500 calories of whatever you like. But thats his diet, not mine. I advocate intermittent fasting, with no calories.
Dr. Jason Fung
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Roller Coaster: Female Hormones
When a woman’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control. Talk to your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is a good idea.
How A1c Measures Blood Sugar
An A1c test is also known as glycated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, or HbA1c. It measures the amount of glucose in your blood. More specifically, it checks hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Glucose binds to hemoglobin, creating glycated hemoglobin compounds. The higher your blood glucose level, the more glucose attaches to the hemoglobin. Hemoglobin cells last about 90 days, so the A1C provides an overall picture of your blood sugar control for the previous three months.
For people without diabetes, A1C tests are recommended every three years in adults over the age of 45 and anyone with a high risk of diabetes. Risk factors include a family history of diabetes, a BMI above 25, high blood pressure, a history of heart disease, and a lack of physical activity.
For people with diabetes, regular A1C monitoring can catch a spike in blood sugar levels early. An increase should prompt your healthcare provider to re-evaluate your treatment plan. This may include a review of your medications, diet, and how often your test your blood sugar.
Target Blood Sugar Levels For Children And Adolescents With Diabetes
Age 6-12 Bedtime 100-180
Kids aged 6 to 12 should have blood sugar levels that range between 80 to 180 mg/dL over the course of a day. Blood sugar levels go up after eating a meal because the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then distributed throughout the bloodstream. Other macronutrientsprotein and fatturn into glucose as well, but at a slower rate. Many people learn how to use these factors to their advantage. For example, if a childs sugar is trending low, a bedtime snack that includes something with protein and fat, like chocolate milk or peanut butter, will help raise blood sugar levels and help keep blood sugar levels steady through the night.
When you wake up in the morning, your fasting blood sugar is generally at its lowest because you havent consumed food for about eight hours. However, many people experience an increase in blood sugar levels in the early morning hours. If youre an adult and struggling with glucose control, your healthcare provider can help you develop a treatment plan to manage your blood sugar better.
Blood glucose levels outside the ranges listed above are categorized as either high or low blood sugar. For example, according to this chart, blood sugar levels are considered high if theyre over 130 mg/dL before a meal or 180 mg/dL within one to two hours after a meal. Many people wont start to experience symptoms from high blood sugar until their levels are at 250 mg/dL or higher. .
When Should I Get My Hemoglobin A1c Test
You should test your A1c levels as a preventive test if you are over 45 or under 45 and overweight. You should also consider it if you have one of the diabetes risk factors, such as:
- History of familial diabetes
- Low physical activity
- High blood pressure
- High level of blood cholesterol
- History of gestational diabetes or having given birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds.
Check out your individual diabetes risk with our comprehensive diabetes risk calculator.
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the sugar found in your blood that comes mainly from the food you eat. Whenever you eat something, your digestive system breaks it down into smaller components, and one of the major components is glucose.
Glucose is our bodies preferred energy source. Its a necessary ingredient for maintaining the optimal function of your organs, muscles, and nervous system.
If you just ate a meal high in carbohydrates, starch, and/or sugar, your blood sugar will rise high over a normal fasting level. If you just had a meal of healthy fats and proteins, your blood sugar will not rise as high.
Blood sugar after meals that is continuously outside of the normal range can lead to major blood vessel and body tissue damage.
This damage creates toxic compounds called advanced glycation end products .
AGEs are proteins or lipids that are tagged with glucose molecules as a result of continuous exposure to high sugar levels. AGEs accelerate the aging process by depleting your bodys antioxidant stores.
They also wreak havoc in the body by damaging DNA and lead to the development, or worsening, of many diseases including diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and Alzheimers disease.
Fortunately, its very simple to measure the direct effect on your blood sugar of any kind of food, whether its a bowl of greens or a big juicy burger.
Check Your Blood Sugar Levels As Your Doctor Has Directed
Work with your doctor to determine if you should check your blood sugar and how often. You may be tempted to pick up an A1C home testing kit, but Dodell says having your A1C checked by your doctor every three to six months is sufficient. A better idea is to use a continuous glucose monitor. He recommends checking your time in range to see if you are at the optimal level. For many people that is 70 to 180 milligrams per deciliter , according to ADA guidelines.
Understanding your A1C levels is an important part of your overall diabetes management. If you have any questions about your A1C or what it means, dont hesitate to ask your doctor.
Additional reporting by Mikel Theobald
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