What Is The A1c Metric
An A1C has many names. It can be called a hemoglobin A1C, glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c. Overall, its the lab that your provider collects when they want to see what your average blood sugar is over the course of three months. It is used to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes, or if you already have diabetes, monitor how youve been managing your blood sugars over a long period of time. A higher A1C means your blood sugars have been running higher lower A1C means your blood sugars have been running lower.
Think about it this way when you spill honey on your countertop, it gets sticky. When your blood sugar is high, your blood gets sticky, too, and the little sugar molecules will stick onto the protein on your red blood cells at a higher rate. The test is telling you what percentage of your red blood cells have a sugar-coated hemoglobin.
How To Lower Your A1c Levels
Its important to get your hemoglobin A1C levels as close to normal as possible, says Dr. Bellatoni, Decreasing your hemoglobin A1C decreases your risk of having complications from diabetes. Even if you cannot get your A1C back to the normal range, any improvement lowers your risk of diabetes complications.
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.
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The 411 On A1c: Normal A1c Levels And 15 Ways To Lower High A1c
The hemoglobin A1C test is the closest thing to a diabetes scorecard you can find. Whether someone has had diabetes mellitus for years or if they have just been diagnosed, they have probably heard about this test. Unlike blood sugar meters people use at home, the A1C measures an average blood sugar level over the past several months by analyzing how many of a patients hemoglobin cells have glucose attached to them. The test results keep track of how well a person is managing his or her diabetes.
Time In Range For Diabetes Management
Glycemic control, the process of properly managing your blood glucose, is a very important aspect of living with any form of diabetes. Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are two of the main challenges for people with diabetes, and controlling these fluctuations is crucial to reducing your risk for long-term complications like peripheral neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Alzheimers disease.
Most doctors use a standard measure called the hemoglobin A1c to measure your blood average over a 90-120 day period.
The A1c measures the percentage of hemoglobin in your blood that has been glycosylated. This provides doctors with an indicator of how much glucose has attached to hemoglobin over the course of the lifetime of hemoglobin molecules .
The higher the percentage, the more glucose has attached to hemoglobin, and the higher your average blood glucose.
The A1c test can also be used to diagnose diabetes, based on the following guidelines:
Image courtesy of the American Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.org/a1c
- If your A1c level is below 5.7%, you are considered at the lowest risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- If your A1c level is between 5.7% and less than 6.4%, you may be diagnosed with prediabetes.
- If your A1c level is 6.5% or higher, you may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Monitoring your time in range allows you to determine a few key things that the A1c measurement does not directly measure:
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What Is The Most Recent Ada Guidelines
There is a new guideline comprising an elevated A1c which can go up to 8.5 or even 9 for adult seniors 65 years of age.Whats the Big Deal with Higher Normal A1c Target?- Incorrect Diagnosis Can Lead to Complex SymptomsFor Diabetes, higher A1c target is a relaxing guideline. Because accomplishing 8 or 8.5-9ish is easier than achieving < 7%. < 7% needs more stringent glycemic control, and higher medication requirement. Using more than adequate medicines when not necessary may cause dangerous low sugar situation. In essence senior patients can be easily misdiagnosed and over treatment harm the body rather than improving. Realizing your normal A1c target range as a senior can help you mitigating the risks.
A1c Number Represents a Reliable and Offers Accurate Diagnosis of Diabetes:
1. They are repeatable2. It is convenient as it doesnt need fasting before the blood sample is withdrawn
American Diabetes Association offers < 7% A1c as the normal target for adults without diabetes.Aging Related A1c Increase With Non-Diabetes
Age in Years. A1c Mmol. Mg/ dL20-39. 6.0%. 42.1 12660 years. 6.5%. 47.5. 160
Stick To A Regular Schedule So You Can More Easily Follow A Healthy Diet
Skipping meals, letting too much time pass between meals, or eating too much or too often can cause your blood sugar levels to fall and rise too much, Cleveland Clinic points out. This is especially true if you are taking insulin or certain other diabetes drugs. Your doctor can help you determine the best meal schedule for your lifestyle.
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How Does Age Affect A1c
A1c is a measure of diabetes management, so your A1c won’t 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 you’re curious about how your age may affect your A1c levels.
Youre Eating Healthy Foods But Youre Eating Too Much
Portion control is vital to managing your A1C, Gallagher says. Watching the amount you eat helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps you manage your intake of carbohydrates and maintain healthy blood sugar levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The agency offers a guide for estimating portion sizes. They also recommend taking steps to control your food intake, such as measuring out portions of snacks, rather than eating straight from the bag or box, and having your server wrap half of your meal if youre eating out, so you can enjoy it later. A registered dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist can help you develop a meal plan to help keep your blood sugar under control.
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Ways To Lower Your A1c
A1C is a blood test that shows how well your diabetes management plan is working. Heres how to reach a healthy A1C number and avoid diabetes complications.
For some, home blood sugar testing can be an important and useful tool for managing your blood sugar on a day-to-day basis. Still, it only provides a snapshot of whats happening in the moment, not a full picture of whats happened in the long term, says Gregory Dodell, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.
For this reason, your doctor may occasionally administer a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. Called the A1C test, or the hemoglobin A1C test, this provides another lens on how well your type 2 diabetes management plan is working.
Underlying Factors For Enhanced A1c For Seniors
Disease Duration: Obviously if the onset is during the middle age, you have suffered longer compared to the onset during your seniors years .Life Expectancy: You are expected to live more or less than 10 yearsRelevant Diabetes and Other Unrelated Medical Symptoms: The diseases and symptoms determine your overall wellbeing, how you function on day-to-day basis.Pancreas Overwhelmed Addressing the Insulin Requirement for Years Up to Senior Life: In many cases it cant support converting your body glucose entirely or partially to energy. The glucose stays on the blood stream resulting in higher A1c.
This accompanied table can help you quickly looking at the conversion if you are more familiar with Mmol/dL. The implications of these numbers In context to health are described following this table.
A1c. Mmol/ dL
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What Medicine For Penis Swelling Due To Diabetes
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Follow Your Treatment Plan
Successful management of chronic conditions is all about making a plan and sticking to it. Work with your doctor to set goals for your health and create a plan that will work for you. It you have a hard time following your plan, you may want to write it down or post your goals in a place where you will see them frequently. The NIDDK offers a diabetes planning worksheet to help you get started.
How Can I Control My Blood Sugar
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For Those Diagnosed With Diabetes You Can Reduce The Risk Of Complications:
- Monitor blood glucose levels with appropriate testing and an A1C blood test every three months to measure the average amount of sugar in your blood
- If you smoke, its never too late to quit
- Be physically active
- Examine feet and skin every day
- Have an eye exam at least once a year
- Have a kidney function test at least once a year
- Visit your healthcare provider regularly
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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The OGTT is a two-hour test that checks your blood sugar levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink. It tells the doctor how your body processes sugar.
- Diabetes is diagnosed at 2 hour blood sugar of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
|200 mg/dl or higher
Reasons Your A1c Might Be High When Youre Not Diabetic
Are you worried youâre at risk of diabetes because of high blood sugar levels on your A1C test? Does your blood sugar spike even when youâre eating healthy foods like apples and pears?
While high blood sugar is a common sign of diabetes, itâs not exclusive to those with the health condition. In fact, people often encounter high levels even if they donât have a history of diabetes.
What Is The Normal Range For A1c
An A1C is considered within normal limits when it is 5.6 percent or lower. Your health care provider can diagnose prediabetes with an A1C between 5.7 to 6.4 percent, and diabetes with an A1C of 6.5 percent and higher. If you have diabetes, the goal is to keep your A1C at about 7.0 percent or lower.
Is A1c Age Dependent
The reasons A1c changes with aging because RBC numbers change with aging.1. There might be a change in the way how RBCs are made from stem cells.2. Compromise between RBC production and clearance.3. All RBC contribute to the measured level of HbA1c. Although older RBCs are supposed to be exposed more to plasma glucose, younger ones are more in numbers. .4. The changed RBC numbers contribute to changed A1c.The clinicians have not yet accepted the natural enhanced change in A1c with older adults.
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How The Test Works
The sugar in your blood is called glucose. When glucose builds up in your blood, it binds to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. The A1c test measures how much glucose is bound.
Red blood cells live for about 3 months, so the test shows the average level of glucose in your blood for the past 3 months.
If your glucose levels have been high over recent weeks, your hemoglobin A1c test will be higher.
Hba1c Is Your Average Blood Glucose Levels For The Last Two To Three Months If You Have Diabetes An Ideal Hba1c Level Is 48mmol/mol Or Below
If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, your target HbA1c level should be below 42mmol/mol .
On this page well go through what HbA1c means, and why aiming for your target level is so important. Well also explain the HbA1c test in more detail, and show you what you can do to lower your HbA1c levels if theyre too high. Plus, you can use our HbA1c converter tool if youre looking to find out your level in % or mmol/mol.
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