What Does A1c Measure
You may be wondering what makes this test different, especially if you already check your blood sugar multiple times a day. The A1C test goes by a few names, including glycosylated hemoglobin, glycated hemoglobin, or hemoglobin A1C . All of these names hint at what is being measured the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells, and its job is to carry oxygen to the lungs and all of the cells in your body. Glucose enters your blood stream and sticks, or glycates, with the hemoglobin. The higher your blood glucose, the more sugar-coated or glycated the hemoglobin becomes.
Since the lifecycle of a red blood cell is about four months, the A1C percentage reflects average blood sugar levels detected on hemoglobin cells of varying ages days, weeks, or months old. If your blood glucose control has generally been steady, your hemoglobin cells will not be highly sugar-coated, or glycated, leading to a lower A1C value.
How Do I Lower My Hemoglobin A1c Levels
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Roller Coaster: Female Hormones
When a womans 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.
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How To Lower A1c
If your A1c test shows that your levels are too high, your doctor will tell you to lower it. Here are some useful tips on how to do that:
Normal Fasting Blood Sugar For Person Without Diabetes
A normal fasting blood glucose for someone who does not have diabetes ranges from 70 to 99 mg/dl. The American Diabetes Association recommends a routine screening for type 2 diabetes starting at age 35. If the results are normal, the screening should be repeated every three years.
If have diabetes risk factors, which include being overweight or obese, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, having a history of gestational diabetes, or being of a certain race/ethnicity , you should be screened for diabetes sooner and repeat testing may be recommended more often.
Children and adolescents who have diabetes symptoms or who are overweight and have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are of African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American or Pacific Islander descent, who have signs of prediabetes or a mother who had gestational diabetes should be tested beginning at age 10 or the onset of puberty and then every three years thereafter.
A fasting blood sugar of 100 to 125 mg/dl is indicative of prediabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Its managed by lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.
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Can The A1c Test Result In A Different Diagnosis Than The Blood Glucose Tests
Yes. In some people, a blood glucose test may show diabetes when an A1C test does not. The reverse can also occuran A1C test may indicate diabetes even though a blood glucose test does not. Because of these differences in test results, health care professionals repeat tests before making a diagnosis.
People with differing test results may be in an early stage of the disease, when blood glucose levels have not risen high enough to show up on every test. In this case, health care professionals may choose to follow the person closely and repeat the test in several months.
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What Is Estimated Average Glucose
Estimated average glucose, eAGsummarizes the blood glucose level during the past 3 months.
We obtain it by transforming percentage of HbA1c to eAG value, given either in mg/dL or mmol/L.
Why does the eAG measure exactly 3 past months?
The estimated average glucose range comes from the HbA1c measurements that estimate the amount of the particular protein located within the red blood cells.
The average lifespan of a red blood cell equals 120 days, which is almost 4 months â but we must remember that not all the blood cells are being born and die at the same time. To receive accurate readings, we need to make sure that most of the cells that we study were alive during the period weâd like to measure â thatâs why weâre confident of 3, not 4 months.
Hey! You can check the foods that increase your estimated average glucose with our glycemic index or glycemic load tools.
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How To Reduce Blood Sugar Quickly Naturally
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The Big Picture: Monitoring Treatment
This relatively simple blood test can tell you a lot. The test results give you a picture of your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. The higher the levels, the greater your risk of developing diabetes complications. Your doctor will tell you how often you need the A1C test, but usually youll have the test at least twice a year if youre meeting your treatment goals. If you’re not meeting your goals or you change treatments, you may need to get an A1C test more often.
So What Do The Numbers Mean
When it comes to the numbers, there’s no one-size-fits-all target. A1C target levels can vary by each person’s age and other factors, and your target may be different from someone else’s. The goal for most adults with diabetes is an A1C that is less than 7%.
A1C test results are reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. The A1C test can also be used for diagnosis, based on the following guidelines:
- If your A1C level is between 5.7 and less than 6.5%, your levels have been in the prediabetes range.
- If you have an A1C level of 6.5% or higher, your levels were in the diabetes range.
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Normal A1c Test Results
In the United States an A1c in the normal range falls under 5.7%, while a measurement of 5.7% to 6.4% may indicate pre-diabetes, and anything over 6.5% is used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, the guidelines for a healthy A1c are not universal and they vary between regions.
In places like Canada, the UK, and Australia, an A1c under 6% is considered normal, while values in the range of 6% to 6.4% are indicators of pre-diabetes, and values over 6.5% are a red flag for type 2 diabetes.
Ultimately, an A1c goal of 6% is a great goal to work toward.
In general, the higher your A1c is, the more likely you are to develop some of the complications of diabetes. So, while an A1c of 7-8% is good, you can still work to get it lower. And very high results in the 9 and 10% range can pose a huge threat to your long-term health.
Chronic high blood sugar puts you at risk for complications like nerve damage, kidney damage, amputations, heart failure, and eye problems including blindness.
Although this may be alarming to hear, the purpose of this information isnt to scare you. In fact, we have some great news: you have the power to lower your A1c and reduce your risk for these complications.
Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise have a massive impact on your blood sugar and A1c levels, which means that the power to better your health is in your own hands. .
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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.
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. .
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How To Lower A1c Level
Your doctor will tell you to lower your A1C levels if your test shows they are too high. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Consult your doctor about medicine. Make sure youre following the doctors instructions when taking them. Mention any other medications youre taking for different ailments, as they could interact.
- Check your blood sugar levels more frequently and make sure youre using the suitable treatments . If you believe this is a problem for you, seek professional treatment.
- Increase your physical activity. You dont have to train to be an Olympic athlete, but you should strive to include a few short walks in your daily routine. Every step is crucial!
- Attempt to reach and maintain a healthy BMI .
- The BMI is the most fundamental indicator, but you should also consider your waist-hip ratio. A large amount of visceral fat has been related to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. If youre overweight, dont go over your daily calorie restriction, and attempt to eat even less. Say goodbye to processed meals and sweets.
If you follow those recommendations, your hemoglobin A1C levels will almost certainly improve.
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