Your A1c Levels – What Goal To Shoot For?
Measuring Your A1C An A1C test gives you and your provider insight into all of your blood glucose ups and downs over the past two or three months. It’s like the 24/7 video of your blood sugar levels. Observing your A1C results and your blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) results together over time are two of the key tools you and your health care provider can use to monitor your progress and revise your therapy as needed over the years. Recent research is changing the way health professionals look at A1C levels. Instead of setting tight controls across the board, a healthy A1C level is now a moving target that depends on the patient. In the past, an A1C of 7 percent was considered a healthy goal for everyone. Yehuda Handelsman, M.D., medical director of the Metabolic Institute of America in Tarzana, California, says experts now recommend taking a patient-centered approach to managing A1C levels, which means evaluating goals based on individual diabetes management needs and personal and lifestyle preferences. Current ADA Goals The 2015 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes advise the following A1C levels: • 6.5 percent or less: This is a more stringent goal. Health care providers might suggest this for people who can achieve this goal without experiencing a lot of hypoglycemia episodes or other negative effects of having lower blood glucose levels. This may be people who have not had diabetes for many years (short duration); people with type 2 diabetes using lifestyle changes and/or a glucose-lowering medication that doesn’t cause hypoglycemia; younger adults with many years to live healthfully; and people with no significant heart and blood vessel disease. • 7 percent: This is a reasonable A1C goal for many adults with d Continue reading >>
5 Ways To Lower Your A1c
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 what’s happening in the moment, not long-term information, 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 a more accurate picture of how well your type 2 diabetes management plan is working. Taking the A1C Test If your diabetes is well controlled and your blood sugar levels have remained stable, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you have the A1C test two times each year. This simple blood draw can be done in your doctor's office. Some doctors can use a point-of-care A1C test, where a finger stick can be done in the office, with results available in about 10 minutes. The A1C test results provide insight into how your treatment plan is working, and how it might be modified to better control the condition. Your doctor may want to run the test as often as every three months if your A1C is not within your target range. What the A1C Results Mean The A1C test measures the glucose (blood sugar) in your blood by assessing the amount of what’s called glycated hemoglobin. “Hemoglobin is a protein within red blood cells. As glucose enters the bloodstream, it binds to hemoglobin, or glycates. The more glucose that enters the bloodstream, the higher the amount of glycated hemoglobin,” Dr. Dodell says. An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered normal. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 perce Continue reading >>
The A1c Test & Diabetes
What is the A1C test? The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. How does the A1C test work? The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. Can the A1C test be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes? Yes. In 2009, an international expert committee recommended the A1C test as one of the tests available to help diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 Previously, only the traditional blood glucose tests were used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Because the A1C test does not require fasting and blood can be drawn for the test at any time of day, experts are hoping its convenience will allow more people to get tested—thus, decreasing the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes. However, some medical organizations continue to recommend using blood glucose tests for diagnosis. Why should a person be tested for diabetes? Testing is especially important because early in the disease diabetes has no symptoms. Although no test is perfect, the A1C and blood glucose tests are the best tools available to diagnose diabetes—a serious and li Continue reading >>
Why Are We Waiting To Treat Diabetes Until A1c Reaches 6.5%?
Home / Conditions / Prediabetes / Why Are We Waiting To Treat Diabetes Until A1c Reaches 6.5%? Why Are We Waiting To Treat Diabetes Until A1c Reaches 6.5%? Getting type 2 diabetes at an early age increases risk for all diabetes complications, including death. Going back years, the diagnosis of diabetes was a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) of 180 mg/dl. Today, its an FPG of 126 mg/dl or greater, or an A1C of 6.5% or greater. But should the diagnostic standard move even further, to 100 mg/dl, a lower A1C, and treatment for diabetes start much earlier? To examine the association between early onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and clinical behavioral risk factors for later complications of diabetes, 5,115 people with type 2 were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Risk factors at time of diagnosis among those diagnosed at 45 years (early onset) with diagnosis age 46 to 55, 56 to 65 (average onset = reference), 66 to 75, and >75 years (late onset) were recorded. According to the analysis, being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a young age comes with more serious complications and higher rates of death than being diagnosed later in life. We know that it takes many years to develop complications in diabetes and having type 2 at a younger age equates to a higher lifetime risk of complications given the projected length of exposure to high glucose and other risk factors. This includes higher death rates, which rose to six times higher when subjects were in early middle age. Those diagnosed between ages 15 and 30 had more severe nerve damage and signs of early kidney disease than those who had lived with the disease for a similar amount of time but were diagnosed between ages 40 and 50, researchers found. The younger group also had much higher risk of death than peers witho Continue reading >>
Average blood glucose and the A1C test Your A1C test result (also known as HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin) can be a good general gauge of your diabetes control, because it provides an average blood glucose level over the past few months. Unlike daily blood glucose test results, which are reported as mg/dL, A1C is reported as a percentage. This can make it difficult to understand the relationship between the two. For example, if you check blood glucose 100 times in a month, and your average result is 190 mg/dL this would lead to an A1C of approximately 8.2%, which is above the target of 7% or lower recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for many adults who are not pregnant. For some people, a tighter goal of 6.5% may be appropriate, and for others, a less stringent goal such as 8% may be better.1 Talk to your doctor about the right goal for you. GET YOURS FREE The calculation below is provided to illustrate the relationship between A1C and average blood glucose levels. This calculation is not meant to replace an actual lab A1C result, but to help you better understand the relationship between your test results and your A1C. Use this information to become more familiar with the relationship between average blood glucose levels and A1C—never as a basis for changing your disease management. See how average daily blood sugar may correlate to A1C levels.2 Enter your average blood sugar reading and click Calculate. *Please discuss this additional information with your healthcare provider to gain a better understanding of your overall diabetes management plan. The calculation should not be used to make therapy decisions or changes. What is A1C? Performed by your doctor during your regular visits, your A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels by taking a Continue reading >>
What Is The A1c Test? How Does A1c Relate To Blood Glucose?
Anyone with diabetes will be familiar with finger-prick testing for monitoring blood glucose to see how well they are managing their disease. This kind of regular testing is essential for most people with diabetes, but what role does an occasional hemoglobin A1C blood test play in controlling blood sugars, and how does it work? Contents of this article: What is the A1C test? The abbreviation A1C is used in the US (sometimes with a lower-case 'c' - A1c) and is short for glycated hemoglobin (sometimes called 'glycosylated' hemoglobin or glycohemoglobin). The other abbreviations in use are: HbA1c (widely used internationally) HbA1c Hb1c HgbA1C. The A1C test is a blood test used to measure the average level of glucose in the blood over the last two to three months. This test is used to check how well blood sugar levels are being controlled in a person with diabetes and can also be used in the diagnosis of diabetes.1 Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. When blood glucose levels are elevated, some of the glucose binds to hemoglobin and, as red blood cells typically have a lifespan of 120 days, A1C (glycated hemoglobin) is a useful test because it offers an indication of longer term blood glucose levels.2 The particular type of hemoglobin that glucose attaches to is hemoglobin A, and the combined result is call glycated hemoglobin. As blood glucose levels rise, more glycated hemoglobin forms, and it persists for the lifespan of red blood cells, about four months.2 Therefore, the A1C level directly correlates to the average blood glucose level over the previous 8-12 weeks; A1C is a reliable test that has been refined and standardized using clinical trial data.3 There are two key things to know about the appl Continue reading >>
- Home blood glucose test: How to test for diabetes at home
- Diabetes and the A1C Test: What Does It Tell You?
- Postprandial Blood Glucose Is a Stronger Predictor of Cardiovascular Events Than Fasting Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Particularly in Women: Lessons from the San Luigi Gonzaga Diabetes Study
Prevalence Of Hemoglobin A1c Greater Than 6.5% And 7.0% Among Hospitalized Patients Without Known Diagnosis Of Diabetes At An Urban Inner City Hospital
Context: Bronx, New York, an urban county with a large low-income, immigrant and minority population, has a prevalence of diabetes that is among the highest in the United States. Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the utility of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in identifying patients at risk for diabetes on an in-patient medical service of a hospital serving a high prevalence community. Design and Setting: We conducted a prospective cohort study at an urban public hospital. Patients: The study included 971 patients (1132 admissions) admitted to the general medicine service over 4 months. Main Outcome Measures: HbA1c was measured on all patients. Records were checked for prior diagnosis of diabetes and other clinical data. Follow-up data were obtained for those with repeat HbA1c testing or glucose within 1 yr after admission. Results: We found that 35.2% of the patients (n = 342) had an established diagnosis of diabetes. The remaining 629 patients defined the study cohort of patients without known diabetes. Mean HbA1c was 6.05 ± 0.87%. A total of 152 patients (24%) had admission HbA1c of at least 6.5% and 62 (9.9%) had HbA1c of at least 7.0%. Fifty-five patients with HbA1c of at least 6.5% had follow-up HbA1c within 1 yr. Of those, 44 (80.0%) met the criteria for diabetes as proposed by The International Expert Committee using repeated HbA1c testing. Conclusion: In communities with high prevalence of diabetes, a large percentage of patients without a diagnosis of diabetes who are admitted as in-patients have HbA1c of at least 6.5% and 7.0%. Hospital-based HbA1c testing might identify patients for whom further testing is indicated to make the diagnosis of diabetes. Context: Widespread thyroid hormone actions offer the possibility of developing selective thyromimetic Continue reading >>
Moderate Blood Sugar Control Targets Recommended For Most Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
Follow all of ScienceDaily's latest research news and top science headlines ! Moderate blood sugar control targets recommended for most patients with type 2 diabetes Patients with type 2 diabetes should be treated to achieve an A1C between 7 percent and 8 percent rather than 6.5 percent to 7 percent, the American College of Physicians recommends in a new evidence-based guidance statement. Patients with type 2 diabetes should be treated to achieve an A1C between 7 percent and 8 percent rather than 6.5 percent to 7 percent, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in an evidence-based guidance statement published today in Annals of Internal Medicine. An A1C test measures a person's average blood sugar level over the past two or three months. An A1C of 6.5 percent indicates diabetes. "ACP's analysis of the evidence behind existing guidelines found that treatment with drugs to targets of 7 percent or less compared to targets of about 8 percent did not reduce deaths or macrovascular complications such as heart attack or stroke but did result in substantial harms," said Dr. Jack Ende, president, ACP. "The evidence shows that for most people with type 2 diabetes, achieving an A1C between 7 percent and 8 percent will best balance long-term benefits with harms such as low blood sugar, medication burden, and costs." ACP recommends that clinicians should personalize goals for blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes based on a discussion of benefits and harms of drug therapy, patients' preferences, patients' general health and life expectancy, treatment burden, and costs of care. The rationale in guidelines that recommended lower treatment targets (below 7 percent or below 6.5 percent) is that more intensive blood sugar control would reduce microvascular co Continue reading >>
Ultimate Guide To The A1c Test: Everything You Need To Know
The A1C is a blood test that gives us an estimated average of what your blood sugar has been over the past 2-3 months. The A1c goes by several different names, such aswa Hemoglobin A1C, HbA1C, Hb1C, A1C, glycated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin and estimated glucose average. What is Hemoglobin? Hemoglobin is a protein in your blood cells that carries oxygen. When sugar is in the blood, and it hangs around for a while, it starts to attach to the red blood cells. The A1C test is a measurement of how many red blood cells have sugar attached. So, if your A1C result is 7%, that means that 7% of your red blood cells have sugar attached to them. What are the Symptoms of a High A1C Test Level? Sometimes there are NO symptoms! That is probably one of the scariest things about diabetes, your sugar can be high for a while and you may not even know it. When your blood sugar goes high and stays high for longer periods of time you may notice the following: tired, low energy, particularly after meals feel very thirsty you may be peeing more than normal, waking a lot in the middle of the night to go dry, itchy skin unexplained weight loss crave sugar, hungrier than normal blurred vision, may feel like you need new glasses tingling in feet or hands cuts or sores take a long time to heal or don’t heal well at all frequent infections (urinary tract, yeast infections, etc.) When your blood sugar is high, this means the energy that you are giving your body isn’t getting into the cells. Think about a car that has a gas leak. You put gas in, but if the gas can’t get to the engine, the car will not go. When you eat, some of the food is broken down into sugar and goes into your bloodstream. If your body can’t get the sugar to the cells, then your body can’t “go.” Some of the sugar tha Continue reading >>
The 6.5 A1c
I was sitting on an examining table at Dr. W’s office, my endocrinologist, a couple of weeks ago waiting for him to get off the phone when I asked the nurse if she could make a copy for me of my quarterly lab test results, the results that would tell me my latest A1C - the test that gauges how well diabetics manage the disease. How well I’m managing my diabetes. I was amazed at myself because I have been asking for those lab test copies the minute I walk in the office door for decades, and that day, it completely slipped my mind until I was sitting on the table waiting for Dr. W to tell me what latest thing I needed to change or do. That’s usually what happens at these doctor’s appointments. I have been somewhat obsessed with the A1C number for the past decade or so. Why? I hate failing in general, but that one in particular is one that I loathe failing. The goal is a 6.5, and I had never gotten there before. I had been holding steady at 6.7 for five or six years, not quite making the 6.5, and before that I was holding at a 7 for about two or three years, and before that an 8.4 for I don’t know how long, and before that, I have no idea. For the past decade or so that I’ve been conscious of my A1C and actually trying to make it better, I have felt frustrated and less than adequate at the one job I work at the hardest - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And then as I sat there in the doctor’s office, I realized that I hadn’t thought about the dream A1C in a long time, the 6.5. For the past three months, I had still been exercising, meditating, eating healthy, and monitoring my sugars in relation to all of these things, but I hadn’t really thought about the goal itself. I realized that I had let it go and began simply plodding along living my life in a balan Continue reading >>
Print Overview The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well you're managing your diabetes. The A1C test goes by many other names, including glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c. The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. Why it's done An international committee of experts from the American Diabetes Association, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the International Diabetes Federation, recommend that the A1C test be the primary test used to diagnose prediabetes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. After a diabetes diagnosis, the A1C test is used to monitor your diabetes treatment plan. Since the A1C test measures your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months instead of your blood sugar level at a specific point in time, it is a better reflection of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working overall. Your doctor will likely use the A1C test when you're first diagnosed with diabetes. This also helps establish a baseline A1C level. The test may then need to be repeated while you're learning to control your blood sugar. Later, how often you need the A1C test depends on the type of diabetes you have, your treatment plan and how well you're managing your blood sugar. For example, the A1C test may be recommended: Once every year if you have prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes Twice a year if Continue reading >>
What Do Your A1c Test Results Really Mean?
The hemoglobin A1c test, as we all know, is supposed to give a sense of your average blood glucose levels over the past three months. But here’s a question for you: have you ever tried to figure out what those average blood glucose levels actually are? Say you have an A1c of 6.5% — what, in mg/dl, does that translate to? Try searching Google — it’s hard to find an answer. To quote from a post I wrote a few years ago (see entry from 4:45), that’s partially because: “Not only is there no one standardized definition as to the correlation between A1c and mean glucose levels (JDRF says 1% = 24.4 mg/dl, ADA says 28.7), but different people have different correlations. For example, if you are a ‘high glycolator’ (more glucose sticks to your hemoglobin than the average) you can have a relatively high A1c but a low mean glucose. The speaker gave the example of a patient who had a 8.2% A1c, but a mean glucose of 159 mg/dl (he was speaking using the generally accepted idea that 7% roughly equals a mean of 154 mg/dl). Treat him more aggressively, and you’ll end up with hypos. And if you’re a ‘hypoglycolator,’ it’s the opposite.” Well, just this week, a new paper was published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal that provides a more solid answer to this question than I’ve seen — even though, as I must warn you, personal variability (as described above) means there’s still no precise answer. In the study, researchers wanted to find out what your average blood sugar would have to be in three situations — fasting, after meals and before bed — in order to achieve a particular A1c. Here are their results: A1c test results of 5.5-6.49% were associated with an average fasting blood glucose level of 122 mg/dl. A1c test results Continue reading >>
Rethinking A1c Goals For Type 2 Diabetes
Treat the patient, not the number. This is a very old and sound medical school teaching. However, when it comes to blood sugar control in diabetes, we have tended to treat the number, thinking that a lower number would equal better health. Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes (also known as adult-onset diabetes) is associated with all sorts of very bad things: infections, angry nerve endings causing chronic pain, damaged kidneys, vision loss and blindness, blocked arteries causing heart attacks, strokes, and amputations So of course, it made good sense that the lower the blood sugar, the lower the chances of bad things happening to our patients. One easy, accurate way for us to measure a persons blood sugar over time is the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level, which is basically the amount of sugar stuck to the hemoglobin molecules inside of our blood cells. These cells last for about three months, so, the A1c is thought of as a measure of blood sugars over the prior three months. Generally, clinical guidelines have recommended an A1c goal of less than 7% for most people (not necessarily including the elderly or very ill), with a lower goal closer to normal, or under 6.5% for younger people. We as doctors were supposed to first encourage diet and exercise, all that good lifestyle change stuff, which is very well studied and shown to decrease blood sugars significantly. But if patients didnt meet those target A1c levels with diet and exercise alone, then per standard guidelines, the next step was to add medications, starting with pills. If the levels still werent at goal, then it was time to start insulin injections. While all this sounds very orderly and clinically rational, in practice it hasnt worked very well. I have seen firsthand how enthusiastic attention to the A1c can be help Continue reading >>
Expert Report On The Role Of A1c In The Diagnosis Of Diabetes
What is the Most Appropriate A1C Cut Point for the Diagnosis of Diabetes? As shown in the 1997 committee report, the prevalence of retinopathy increases substantially at A1C values starting between 6.0 and 7.0%[ 17 ] (Figure 1). A recent analysis derived from DETECT-2[ 48 ] and including the 3 that were included in the 1997 report examined the association between A1C and retinopathy, objectively assessed and graded by fundus photography (S. Colagiuri, personal communication). This analysis included 28,000 subjects from nine countries and showed that the glycemic level at which the prevalence of "any" retinopathy begins to rise above background levels (any retinopathy includes minor changes that can be due to other conditions, such as hypertension), and for the more diabetes-specific "moderate" retinopathy, was 6.5% when the data were examined in 0.5% increments (Figure 2). Among the >20,000 subjects who had A1C values <6.5%, "moderate" retinopathy was virtually nonexistent. The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of the same data indicated that the optimal cut point for detecting at least moderate retinopathy was an A1C of 6.5%. Prevalence of retinopathy by 0.5% intervals and severity of retinopathy in participants aged 20-79 years. NPDR, nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. Adapted with permission from (S. Colagiuri, personal communication). In summary, the large volume of data from diverse populations has now established an A1C level associated with an increase in the prevalence of moderate retinopathy and provides strong justification for assigning an A1C cut point of 6.5% for the diagnosis of diabetes. A recently published population-based study of 3,190 adults of Malay ethnicity independently concluded that A1C levels "in the range 6.6 to 7% were op Continue reading >>
All About The Hemoglobin A1c Test
People with diabetes used to depend only on urine tests or daily finger sticks to measure their blood sugars. These tests are accurate, but only in the moment. As an overall measurement of blood sugar control, they’re very limited. This is because blood sugar can vary wildly depending on the time of day, activity levels, and even hormone changes. Some people may have high blood sugars at 3 a.m. and be totally unaware of it. Once A1C tests became available in the 1980s, they became an important tool in controlling diabetes. A1C tests measure average blood glucose over the past two to three months. So even if you have a high fasting blood sugar, your overall blood sugars may be normal, or vice versa. A normal fasting blood sugar may not eliminate the possibility of type 2 diabetes. This is why A1C tests are now being used for diagnosis and screening of prediabetes. Because it doesn’t require fasting, the test can be given as part of an overall blood screening. The A1C test is also known as the hemoglobin A1C test or HbA1C test. Other alternate names include the glycosylated hemoglobin test, glycohemoglobin test, and glycated hemoglobin test. A1C measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it. Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body. Hemoglobin cells are constantly dying and regenerating, but they have a lifespan of approximately three months. Glucose attaches, or glycates, to hemoglobin, so the record of how much glucose is attached to your hemoglobin also lasts for about three months. If there’s too much glucose attached to the hemoglobin cells, you’ll have a high A1C. If the amount of glucose is normal, your A1C will be normal. The test is effective because of the lifespan of the hemogl Continue reading >>