Questions To Ask Your Doctor
When visiting your doctor, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.
- What is my target blood sugar range?
- How often should I check my blood sugar?
- What do these numbers mean?
- Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
- What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?
If you have other questions about your numbers or your ability to manage your diabetes, make sure to work closely with your doctor or health care team.
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What Is An A1c Chart And What Does It Measure
The A1c chart outlines the results of an A1c test. The A1c test, also known as the hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin test, shows the estimated average glucose in your blood over the past few months.
The chart shows the percentage of red blood cells with glucose-coated hemoglobin based on estimated average glucose values. The numbers show if your blood glucose levels fall into the normal, prediabetes, or diabetes range. Reading the chart can help you understand your results.
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The Measure Of Glucose In Glycosylated Haemoglobin
In the glycosylated hemoglobin test , the percentage of hemoglobin that is bound to glucose is measured. The average concentration of blood glucose is reflected in this test after three months. The glycosylated hemoglobin can be measured in percentage or in units of mmol/mol. This is now a standard unit in which glycosylated hemoglobin is measured all over the world.
How Is The A1c Test Used After Diagnosis Of Diabetes
Your health care professional may use the A1C test to set your treatment goals, modify therapy, and monitor your diabetes management.
Experts recommend that people with diabetes have an A1C test at least twice a year.4 Health care professionals may check your A1C more often if you arent meeting your treatment goals.4
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What Are The Levels Of The A1c Chart
The A1c chart has three levels: normal, prediabetes, and diabetes. Your A1c test results give a percentage, and that percentage falls into one of the three categories. The scale also shows how close you are to the other categories and your risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes.
The percentage shows how much of the hemoglobin in your blood is saturated with sugar.
What Is An A1c Test
The hemoglobin A1c test tells you your average level of blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months. It’s also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, and glycohemoglobin. Itâs a lot like a baseball player’s season batting average. A single game doesn’t tell you how a player is performing in their career. And 1 day’s test results don’t give you the complete picture of how your treatment is working.
People who have diabetes need this test regularly to see if their levels are staying within range. It can tell if you need to adjust your diabetes medicines. The A1c test is also used to diagnose diabetes.
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Blood Sugar Charts By Age Risk And Test Type
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar in your blood. Blood sugar comes from foods you eat, and the blood carries glucose to your bodys cells for energy.
People with diabetes have high blood glucose levels. High blood sugar levels can cause complications like heart disease, stroke, and heart attack over time. It can also cause kidney, eye, and nerve problems.
If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will give you more information about keeping your blood sugar numbers in a target range. They will also tell you how often and when to check your blood sugar and what to do if your blood sugar is high or low. You may need to make dietary changes and increase your exercise. You may also need to take medication and/or insulin.
A1c Tests Can Be Affected By Changes In Red Blood Cells Or Hemoglobin
If youre of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent or have family members with sickle cell anemia or a thalassemia, an A1C test can be unreliable for diagnosing or monitoring diabetes and prediabetes. People in these groups may have a different type of hemoglobin, known as a hemoglobin variant, which can interfere with some A1C tests. Most people with a hemoglobin variant have no symptoms and may not know that they carry this type of hemoglobin. Health care professionals may suspect interferencea falsely high or low resultwhen your A1C and blood glucose test results dont match.
Not all A1C tests are unreliable for people with a hemoglobin variant. People with false results from one type of A1C test may need a different type of A1C test to measure their average blood glucose level. The NGSP provides information for health care professionals about which A1C tests are appropriate to use for specific hemoglobin variants.
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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.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
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What Is A Good A1c Level
According to the CDC, a normal A1C level is below 5.7, a level of 5.7 to 6.4 indicates prediabetes, and a level of 6.5 or higher would indicate diabetes.
Within the 5.7 to 6.4 prediabetes range, the risk for developing type 2 diabetes goes up each time the number increases.
While levels below 4.0 are theoretically possible, they aren’t common. Similarly, it would be extremely rare to have an A1C over 15.0.
Interpreting A1c Test Results
An A1C result of 5.7% or less is considered normal, 5.7% to 6.4% is considered pre-diabetes, and 6.5% or more is considered diabetes. Your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes increases with your A1C within the pre-diabetes range of 5.7% to 6.4% .
- NORMAL Below 5.7%
- PRE-DIABETES 5.7% to 6.4%
- DIABETES 6.5% or above
The same figures that you typically see on your blood sugar meter can also be used to report your A1C result :
- A1C of 7% = 154 eAG mg/dL
- A1C of 8% = 183 eAG mg/dL
- A1C of 9% = 212 eAG mg/dL
- A1C of 10% = 240 eAG mg/dL
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What Causes High Or Low Haemoglobin A1c Levels
The level of haemoglobin A1c is largely dependent upon the blood sugar levels. The higher the blood glucose level, the higher the amount of haemoglobin A1c. The higher the value of HbA1c, the greater the risk of experiencing complications associated with diabetes. Somebody who has had unmanaged diabetes for a long time may have a level of more than 8%. Factors responsible for altering the levels of haemoglobin A1c include:
- Oral or intravenous glucose consumption
- Combinations of any of the above-stated factors
Individuals with ailments influencing haemoglobin, like anaemia, might get ambiguous outcomes with this test. Other things that might influence the outcomes of the haemoglobin A1c involve supplements including vitamins C and E as well as high cholesterol levels. Kidney ailments and liver ailments are also seen to affect the test.
Does Low Haemoglobin Affect A1c
Low hemoglobin has a straightforward relationship with the levels of HbA1c. This means that haemoglobin level drops when hemoglobin levels dropdown.
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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:
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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What Is A Normal A1c
For people without diabetes, a normal A1C is below 5.7%.
For people with diabetes, whats normal and healthy for you depends on your goals and access to diabetes management medication and tools. Together, you and your healthcare provider will determine an A1C range that should be your target goal. This will likely change throughout your life.
In general, the American Diabetes Association recommends that the goal for most adults with diabetes should be an A1C of 7% or lower.
Your A1C goals may be above 7% if you have:
- Limited life expectancy.
- Severe low blood sugar episodes or are unable to sense these episodes .
- Advanced diabetes complications, such as chronic kidney disease, nerve problems or cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, healthcare providers typically recommend that people with Type 1 diabetes who are pregnant try to maintain an A1C of 6.5% or lower throughout their pregnancy. This is to try to lower potential health risks for the fetus and to try to prevent fetal macrosomia.
How Often Is A1c Checked
How recently did you check your HbA1c level? If your blood sugar is in the range of diabetes or pre-diabetes, it is a crucial question to ask yourself. You may determine if your blood sugar levels are improving or worsening over time by looking at the difference in your HbA1c level, which displays your normal blood sugar levels over the last 90 days. This helps you to properly control diabetes or pre-diabetes.
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Blood Sugar Normal Level Chart A1c Chart For Blood Sugar
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Checking A1c With Diagnosed Diabetes
Monitoring your HbA1c level can help you and your doctor determine how well your current treatment plan is working if you have diabetes. You can observe how decisions you make, such as your food, impact your blood sugar levels by keeping an eye on your HbA1c levels.
- If youve achieved and are routinely managing your blood sugar target range, check your A1c readings at least twice a year .
- If you recently changed your treatment plan, test your A1c levels four times a year to see how well it is working for you.
- If your blood sugar levels arent regularly within the blood sugar target range, you should check your HbA1c levels four times a year .
- If you are pregnant, you may be required to monitor your HbA1c levels considerably more frequently, like once a month .
- There are many causes for this. One factor is that having blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low during pregnancy might be harmful to the newborn childs health. You can avoid this result by regularly checking your A1c levels .
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What Can You Do To Improve Your A1c Levels
People often wonder how long it will take to improve their A1C number. By following your diabetes self-care plan, you can improve your A1C by your next three-month check. Your A1C may continue to go down at each visit if you continue to partner with your healthcare provider and follow the tips above.
Its not helpful to test your A1C more frequently than every three months, and more frequent testing is not always covered by insurance. If you feel like you have followed your healthcare providers recommendations but your A1C level is high, dont take it personally. Again, there are many factors that make diabetes management difficult, and if you continue to work on it, your number will come down.
In summary, the A1C test gives you a picture of your overall glucose levels. There is no bad or good number, just information that helps you and your healthcare provider understand how well your diabetes management plan is working.
Using an A1C calculator can give you an idea of how your A1C translates into an EAG number that you can recognize, using the same unit of measurement as shown on a blood glucose meter. However, remember that A1C goals can be different for each person based on age, treatment goals, access to diabetes supplies, and other health issues present, so dont be afraid to talk with your healthcare professional about setting your unique goals to lead to better diabetes management.