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What is an A1C Test?

By Mather Endocrinology

What is an A1C Test?

The A1c test measures the amount of glucose on your red blood cells and gives an average of your blood glucose control over a period of 2-3 months. This test is generally ordered by your healthcare provider every 3-6 months, depending on your blood glucose control and the type of diabetes you have.

Finger stick blood glucose monitoring is extremely important, but is different than A1c. Checking your blood glucose with your personal meter gives you immediate information and helps you make decisions for your diabetes management. By checking your finger blood sugar, your provider will determine how to dose your insulin, handle exercise and illness, and tell you if you're on track with your diabetes care.

To summarize, the A1c will inform your provider of the blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months and the blood glucose meter reading tells the day to day control.

What is a normal A1c level? And how about in diabetes/prediabetes?

  • A person without prediabetes or diabetes has an A1c of 5.6 % or less.
  • A person with Prediabetes (high risk of developing diabetes in the future) 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 glucose levels over time, the higher your A1c will be. This means the lower your A1c number, the better.

Doctors of Mather Endocrinololqgy stated, "When discussing an A1C target with patients, it should be individualized. Factors such as age, current health conditions, length of diabetes, risk of hypoglycemia, and motivation to make improvements, should be well thought-out. We would love to achieve an A1C level of ? 6.5% with all our patients but its only considered optimal if it can be accomplished in a safe and reasonable manner, but higher targets can be appropriate for certain individuals and may change over time."

Why does A1c matter to me?

A1c has gained acceptance as an accurate measure of your long-term blood glucose control. Several studies show that achieving a good A1c can prevent or slow down long term damage caused by diabetes. The goal standard set by the American Diabetes Association is to keep your A1c percentage at 7.0 or below. You and your doctor should work together to set your safe target level.

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