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What You Should Know About Your A1C

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be familiar with the term A1C. It is the result of your average blood sugar for the past two or three months. The test, which is done for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1C.

Why is the test done?

Your doctor usually orders this test at least twice a year to monitor how well your treatment is working. The higher your A1C, the greater your risk of developing diabetes complications. If you are not meeting your treatment goals, or you change treatment, you may need to have the test more often. The A1C test is also done to diagnose diabetes.

What do the numbers mean?

An A1C level below 5.7% is considered normal. Between 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes, and anything higher than 6.5% is diabetes. Within the prediabetes range—5.7% to 6.4%—the higher your measurement, the greater your chance of developing diabetes.

Your A1C may also be reported as eAG or ‘estimated average glucose.’ eAG is similar to the reading you get when you check your blood sugar at home on your meter. The ADA has given a comparison of what the readings may look like. For example, if you get a reading of 140, your eAG may be 7.8. A reading of 154 on your meter is 8.6. The ADA also states since you check your sugar in the morning or before meals, your meter readings will be lower than your eAG.

Since we are talking numbers, a normal glucose reading for an adult is between 90 to 110 mg/dl.

What number should I aim at?

The goal for most adults with diabetes is an A1C that is below 7%. However, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), “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.  

Managing your diabetes can be challenging. By following these helpful hints as well as your doctor’s advice, and making the necessary lifestyle changes, you can be well on your way to not only controlling diabetes but reversing it.

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