Why Are They Different
Hemoglobin A1C is the standard for measuring blood sugar levels over an extended time when you have diabetes. Its also used to diagnose diabetes initially. So, while it is important to measure your blood sugar regularly to see how much sugar is in your blood at any given time, measuring your A1C gives you a more definitive look at whether your blood sugar levels have been on track over the last two to three months.
How Often Should A1c And Blood Sugar Levels Be Measured
Keeping blood sugar levels on target is extremely important to prevent blood sugar drops and spikes that can lead to a variety of complications. For example, when your blood sugar drops too low, this can lead to hypoglycemia and when it gets too high it can lead to hyperglycemia and other complications.
Experts recommend checking your A1C every three months when your blood sugar levels are not on target or when you are incorporating any new changes to diabetes management . Once you are on target, A1C testing can happen every six months.
Checking your blood sugar at home using a blood glucose monitor is a good way to ensure you are on track. The frequency of how often you should test depends on many factors such as:
- newly diagnosed, or
- after medication changes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your diabetes healthcare team may recommend testing as often as 4 to 10 times a day. For those living with type 2 diabetes the frequency will depend on your treatment plan but can range from testing a few times a week to several times a day. Your healthcare team will advise you on the most suitable testing frequency based on your individual situation.
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.
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How Do I Lower My Hemoglobin A1c Levels
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Official Fasting Blood Sugar Ada Recommendation For Someone With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends a fasting blood sugar target of 80 to 130 mg/dl for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. However, the fasting blood sugar target may need to be individualized for certain people based on such factors as duration of diabetes, age and life expectancy, cognitive status, other health conditions, cardiovascular complications, and hypoglycemia unawareness. Its important that people with diabetes discuss their target blood sugar goals with their health care provider.
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What Does The A1c Test Measure
When sugar enters your bloodstream, it attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Everybody has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but people with higher blood sugar levels have more. The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.
How To Stay In Target
Eating healthy, exercising and taking medication, if necessary, will help you keep your blood sugar levels within their target range. Target ranges for blood sugar can vary depending on your age, medical condition and other risk factors.
Targets are different for pregnant women, older adults and children 12 years of age and under.
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Try Our A1c Calculator
Not everyone loves crunching numbers, so if that formula is too much of a hassle, try our handy estimator:
Remember, you only see a rough estimate when calculating your A1C without using a proper lab test. Any calculator will use your blood glucose to estimate your A1C. As you now know, this is only a derivation and not an actual measurement.
What Does A1c Actually Measure
A1C is not blood glucose . Itâs closely related, but not quite the same thing. If you want to explore this more, check out our support page. For now, what you need to know is that blood glucose is the amount of sugar in the blood by weight at the moment you measure it.
So, what are A1C measurements? Theyre a representation of the amount of glucose stuck to the hemoglobin in the blood over the months-long lifetime of your blood cells. When bound to sugar, youd call this hemoglobin A1C, giving us the moniker A1C. The lower it is, the lower your risk of diabetes.
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Normal Hba1c For Person Without Diabetes
For someone who does not have diabetes, a normal HbA1C level is below 5.7%. An A1C between 5.7% to 6.4% is indicative of prediabetes.
Its recommended that adults over the age of 45 or adults under 45 who are overweight and have one or more risk factors for diabetes have a baseline A1C checked. If the result is normal, the A1C should be checked every three years. If the result indicates prediabetes, the A1C should be checked every one to two years.
Calculating Your A1c From Your Eag
If you already know your eAG from a doctor’s visit or another test, you can derive your A1C from the same calculator or formulas above. Remember, however, that this measurement is an estimation and if you find that your value is outside of the normal range, you may want to speak to your doctor to learn more.
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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.
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Is The A1c Test Accurate For Everyone
Since the A1C test has been made available , is has become a common way to measure glucose control. However, in the last several years some questions have been raised about potential limitations of A1C:
- Is the A1C accurate for everyone?
- It may not be accurate for some people, including people of African-American descent, people with liver and kidney disease, or with some anemias and sickle cell disease.
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Some Of The Ways Medicines Can Lower A1c Include:
- cause the liver to reduce its output of glucose
- adding insulin when the body is not producing a sufficient quantity
- reducing insulin resistance by making the body more sensitive to its own insulin
- cause the body to increase production of insulin
Keep in mind that illness or infection can also affect A1C. Be sure to make a note of any illnesses you may have had so you can offer your health care provider this information at your next visit.
Can Being Constipated Affect Your Blood Sugar A1c And Blood Sugar Chart
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What Is A1c And Why Is It Used
A1C estimates a persons average blood sugar levels over a 2 to 3-month span. It is one measure we have of how well blood glucose is controlled and an indicator of diabetes management.
Though A1C doesnt provide day-to-day information, lower A1Cs are correlated with a lower risk of microvascular complications, such as kidney disease , vision loss , and nerve damage . Similarly, higher A1Cs can lead to “macrovascular” complications, such as heart disease.
A1C is usually measured in a lab with routine blood work, or with a countertop machine in a doctors office using a fingerstick.
A1C measures the relative percentage of glycated hemoglobin, which refers to red blood cells called hemoglobin with sugar attached to it. If a person consistently has higher blood glucose levels, A1C levels go up because more red blood cells are coated with sugar. The test is representative of a 2 to 3-month average because once a red blood cell becomes coated with sugar, the link is irreversible. It is only when the red blood cell is “recycled” that the sugar coating disappears.
A1c To Blood Glucose Conversion Chart
Published: by Charlotte This post may contain affiliate links
Use this A1c conversion chart to get your blood glucose value. See normal values and how to lower your A1C. Learn how to take charge of diabetes care by using diabetes resources and your health care professionals advice.
This article updated with new images and resource links.
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What Does My A1c Mean
An A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The number represents the portion of hemoglobin proteins that are glycated, or holding glucose. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels have been over the last few months.
For diagnosing purposes, an A1C level of:
- Less than 5.7% means you dont have diabetes.
- 5.7% to 6.4% signals prediabetes.
- 6.5% or higher usually indicates Type 2 diabetes .
If you already have diabetes, an A1C result is a glimpse into how well your management plan has been working over the last three months. Management may involve oral pills, taking insulin, monitoring blood sugar levels and/or lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Your A1C can help you and your provider determine if you should adjust any part of your treatment plan.
Its important to remember that your A1C is just an average measurement of your blood sugar over a few months. Its not a grade or the ultimate determiner of whether youre living a healthy life. Know that your A1C will change over your lifetime and that there are steps you can take to improve your diabetes management and A1C level, if needed.
A1C and estimated average glucose
Some laboratories report your A1C results as a percentage in addition to the corresponding estimated average glucose .
For example, an A1C level of 7% equates to an eAG of 154 mg/dL . An A1C level of 9% equates to an eAG of 212 mg/dL .
Quick A1c Calculator: All You Need To Know About A1c In 2017
Have you heard your doctor or friends mention the term A1C and wonder to yourself what in the world does it mean? Or its could be familiar word, but you never really understood what it meant for you? Fret not. After reading this, youll know exactly what A1c is, what your ideal A1c should be, and how you can estimate A1c using an A1c calculator/converter. And I promise Ill make it easy for you to understand. What does A1c stand for? HbA1C is a medical term, and refers to glycated haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying molecule in your red blood cells. So this is actually a measure of how much glucose is attached to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells. It is done as a blood test, usually ordered by your doctor every 3 6 months if you have diabetes. Youll see your result displayed as a percentage in your blood test report . Since your red blood cells typically live for approximately 8-12 weeks, your A1c number serves as a marker of your average blood glucose levels over the past 2 3 months. This is how a typical A1c result will look like in your blood test report. What is a normal A1c level? And how about in diabetes/ prediabetes? A healthy person has an A1c of 5.6% or less. A person with Prediabetes usually has a A1c between 5.7% and 6.4% A person is diagnosed with Diabetes when his or her A1c is more than 6.5%. The higher your average blood glucosContinue reading > >
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How Does Age Affect A1c
A1c is a measure of diabetes management, so your A1c wont naturally shift as you get older. However, as you age your diabetes management strategies and A1c goals may change for example, younger people may be more focused on reducing long-term health complications, while older people may concentrate on avoiding severe lows. Talk with your healthcare professional if youre curious about how your age may affect your A1c levels.
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Recommended Blood Sugar Targets For Most People With Diabetes*
Your targets may not be the same as the examples in this chart. Your targets are important and should be specific to you.
|4.0 to 7.0||5.0 to 10.0|
* This information is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and is a guide.** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.
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The Difference Between Estimated Average Glucose And A1c
A1C is a measurement of glycated hemoglobin, and is reported as a percentage of your average blood sugar level.
Estimated average glucose , on the other hand, is a value calculated from your A1C value and is measured in mg/dL or mmol/L.
For more information on what these values signify, read our article on normal blood sugar levels.
As we mentioned, your A1C value stems from the two or three months that your red blood cells are alive. Because A1C represents sugar levels over such a long period, your doctor can use this to get a general idea of your blood sugar control.
However, itâs important to note that hemoglobin A1C is not a measure of the exact concentration of glucose in your blood. It is instead a measure of the percent of hemoglobin that has glucose bound to it.
While A1C can be a helpful tool to estimate how your blood sugar has been on average, there are some outside factors that may make it less accurate.