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What Do A1c Numbers Mean?

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Hemoglobin A1c Test (hba1c)

Hemoglobin A1c, often abbreviated HbA1c, is a form of hemoglobin (a blood pigment that carries oxygen) that is bound to glucose. The blood test for HbA1c level is routinely performed in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Blood HbA1c levels are reflective of how well diabetes is controlled. The normal range for level for hemoglobin A1c is less than 6%. HbA1c also is known as glycosylated, or glycated hemoglobin. HbA1c levels are reflective of blood glucose levels over the past six to eight weeks and do not reflect daily ups and downs of blood glucose. High HbA1c levels indicate poorer control of diabetes than levels in the normal range. HbA1c is typically measured to determine how well a type 1 or type 2 diabetes treatment plan (including medications, exercise, or dietary changes) is working. How Is Hemoglobin A1c Measured? The test for hemoglobin A1c depends on the chemical (electrical) charge on the molecule of HbA1c, which differs from the charges on the other components of hemoglobin. The molecule of HbA1c also differs in size from the other components. HbA1c may be separated by charge and size from the other hemoglobin A components in blood by a procedure called h Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. gonzomax

    Straight Dope Message Board

    A friend at racketball has lost weight and plays a lot of racketball. He is diabetic and self administers a shot every day.
    He went to the doc yesterday and said he had a 9.3 number. What does that mean and is it dangerous? Another guy at racketball said that is very dangerous and portents amputations.
    Is it?

  2. pohjonen

    Assuming that's his A1c number, that is not good. Normal is 5 or so and sorta controlled diabetes is 7, according to some doctors. See here (http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/).

  3. Athena

    A friend at racketball has lost weight and plays a lot of racketball. He is diabetic and self administers a shot every day.
    He went to the doc yesterday and said he had a 9.3 number. What does that mean and is it dangerous? Another guy at racketball said that is very dangerous and portents amputations.
    Is it?
    9.3 is probably his A1c reading. In simple terms, your A1c is an average blood glucose reading over 2-3 months. Non-diabetics have A1cs around 5.0, which roughly corresponds to an average blood glucose reading of 100 or so; 9.3 corresponds to about 220 (I'm using this site (http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/A1Ccalc.php) for the conversions)
    And yeah, that's high. Most docs recommend an A1c of 6.8 or below for an adult diabetic. Once you get higher than that, your risk of kidney damage, amputations, and eye damage go way up. If I were your friend, I'm be pretty damn scared.
    To put it in perspective, if I ever see a number over 200, I get very concerned. If it's over 200 and I haven't eaten anything carby recently, I get panicky. To have an average reading of 220 probably means that he's spiking quite a bit higher at times.
    You say he's taking one shot a day - that seems low. A modern treatment regime typically involves 4-6 shots a day. Older types of Insulin required fewer shots, but those are the ones where you have to live a very regimented life - the shot had to be at a certain time of the day, and you had to eat at certain times of the day or you risked going low (which is more dangerous than high blood glucose. Go too low, you can die. You can die from high blood sugars, too, but typically it's not a quick death.)

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