Diabetes: What You Need To Know As You Age
Overview Diabetes is a problem that has many consequences: If you have the disease, your body can no longer keep its blood sugar at a healthy level. But over time, the effects of diabetes can become much more complicated. The disease can lead to serious, even life-threatening problems from your head to your toes. Too much blood sugar (also called glucose) can damage the blood vessels and nerves that run throughout your body. This can set the stage for many other medical conditions: stroke heart disease kidney disease vision problems and blindness damage to the feet or legs However, there is good news for the 26 million Americans with diabetes—and those at risk. Experts are learning more all the time about lifestyle steps for diabetes control and prevention. New medications and devices can also help you keep control over your blood sugar and prevent complications, says Johns Hopkins expert Rita Kalyani, M.D. Definitions A1C Test: A blood test used to diagnose and monitor diabetes. By measuring how much glucose (also called blood sugar) is attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells, this test gives you and your health-care provider a picture of your average blood glucose levels over three months. A normal result is below 5.7 percent. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should have this test done twice a year to check if your blood glucose is under control. Blood glucose: Also referred to as blood sugar, the primary energy source for the cells in your body. Blood glucose levels rise after meals and fall the longer you’ve gone without eating. Your blood glucose level is a measure of how much glucose you have in your bloodstream. A normal fasting blood glucose level is between 70 and 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood). Insulin (in-suh-lin): A Continue reading >>
Hba1c Increases With Age
HbA1c levels in the elderly rise but not in precise relationship to glucose tolerance…. In this cross-sectional analysis of adults with known diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and HbA1c levels increased with age, even after adjusting for covariates including race, BMI, waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter, triglyceride/HDL ratio, and fasting and 2-hour plasma glucose levels assessed by an oral glucose tolerance test. The specificity of HbA1c-based prediabetes diagnosis decreased substantially as age increased. "For the same level of blood glucose, HbA1c is higher in the elderly, suggesting a decreased specificity for the diagnosis of diabetes with increasing age. Given that glucose levels may be normal, basing a diagnosis on HbA1c will result in more risk for hypoglycemia with treatment; on the other hand, one wonders whether the higher HbA1c reflects decreased clearance that may also apply to tissues damaged by glucose, rendering them more susceptible to damage in the presence of ‘normal’ glucose levels," said the researchers. Examining the measures of sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive value based on HbA1c criteria using the OGTT as gold standard, the researchers found a remarkable decrement in performance, predominantly sensitivity, with age. This is an issue superimposed on the well-recognized problem that the sensitivity of HbA1c for diagnosis of diabetes compared with OGTT is quite limited, clustering in most populations around 50%. Researchers concluded that in two large datasets, using different methods to measure HbA1c, the association of age with higher HbA1c levels was consistent and similar; was both statistically and clinically significant; was unexplained by features of aging; and reduced diagnostic specific Continue reading >>
What's A "normal" A1c? When Is It Misleading?
By Adithi Gandhi and Jeemin Kwon Why we use A1c, what values are recommended, and what impacts A1c – everything from anemia to vitamins Want more information just like this? Hemoglobin A1c (“HbA1c” or just “A1c”) is the standard for measuring blood sugar management in people with diabetes. A1c reflects average blood sugars over 2 to 3 months, and through studies like DCCT and UKPDS, higher A1c levels have been shown to be associated with the risk of certain diabetes complications (eye, kidney, and nerve disease). For every 1% decrease in A1c, there is significant pretection against those complications. However, as an average over a period of months, A1c cannot capture critical information such as time spent in a target range (70-180 mg/dl) and hypoglycemia (less than 70 mg/dl). This article describes why A1c is used in the first place, as well as factors that can lead to misleadingly high or low values. In a follow-up piece, we will discuss time-in-range, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, blood sugar variability, and how to measure and interpret them. Click to jump down to a section: What tools are available if an A1c test is not accurate or sufficient? What is A1c and why is it used? A1c estimates a person’s average blood sugar levels over a 2 to 3-month span. It is the best measure we have of how well blood glucose is controlled and an indicator of diabetes management. Though A1c doesn’t provide day-to-day information, keeping A1c low has been proven to lower the risk of “microvascular” complications like kidney disease (nephropathy), vision loss (retinopathy), and nerve damage (neuropathy). The relationship between A1c and “macrovascular” complications like heart disease is harder to show in clinical trials, but having high blood sugar is a major ris Continue reading >>
Does Age Make Diabetes Harder To Control?
It seems that the older I get, the harder it is to control my diabetes and keep my A1C down. Right now, it is an unhealthy 9 percent. When I was younger, it used to be in the 7 range. Is it my age that is making my diabetes so hard to manage? Continue reading >>
The Normal A1c Level
Wow Richard, 70 lbs? I have lost 24 lbs from low carb diet due to SIBO. It also helped my AC1 go down three points from 6.2 and my cholesterol is lower, which surprised me. I can’t afford to lose anymore weight because I was small to begin with. I had noticed much bigger people in the UK over the last 5 years compared to 15-20. Was quite shocking. I thought we had the patent on obesity! I am not diabetic that I know of but I had weird symptoms… Thirst that continued all day and night. My husband called me a camel. Dry eyes, rashes, strange dark discolouration on arm, under the arm to the side, some circulation issues and blurred vision. Eye specialist could not figure out why. Sores in the mouth also. I had observed about three weeks into super low carbs (30 Gms carb/day) that athlete’s foot symptom, sores in mouth and rashes were clearing up. So, lowering carbs for SIBO actually turned out for the best. By the way, I love your final paragraph. Research is what led me to SIBO diagnosis, and I then told the GI what to look for! He was barking up the wrong tree for months. Said I needed to eat more carbs so I don’t lose weight. Well, carbs fed the bacterial overgrowth!!! Dang fool. On Saturday, June 23, 2012, Diabetes Developments wrote: There is a new comment on the post “The Normal A1C Level”. Author: Richard Comment: I think part of the problem is that doctors are trained over many years to treat with pills, not with food. We continue to do what we are trained to do no matter what. I do believe they want to help us but don’t have the nutritional knowledge because that is not their expertise. When you have a hammer, etc. Nutritionist are no better unless they are those involved in research. They just peddle the messages they are told to. Then again, why wo Continue reading >>
- What Is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?
- A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes
- A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes
Hemoglobin A1c Test (hba1c, A1c, Hb1c)
Hemoglobin A1c definition and facts Hemoglobin A1c is a protein on the surface of red blood cells that sugar molecules stick to, usually for the life of the red blood cell (about three months). The higher the level of glucose in the blood, the higher the level of hemoglobin A1c is detectable on red blood cells. Hemoglobin A1c levels correlate with average levels of glucose in the blood over an approximately three-month time period. Normal ranges for hemoglobin A1c in people without diabetes is about 4% to 5.9%. People with diabetes with poor glucose control have hemoglobin A1c levels above 7%. Hemoglobin A1c levels are routinely used to determine blood sugar control over time in people with diabetes. Decreasing hemoglobin A1c levels by 1% may decrease the risk of microvascular complications (for example, diabetic eye, nerve, or kidney disease) by 10%. Hemoglobin A1c levels should be checked, according to the American Diabetic Association, every six months in individuals with stable blood sugar control, and every three months if the person is trying to establish stable blood sugar control. Hemoglobin A1c has many other names such as glycohemoglobin, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, and HbA1c. To explain what hemoglobin A1c is, think in simple terms. Sugar sticks to things, and when it has been stuck to something for a long time it's harder to the get sugar (glucose) off. In the body, sugar sticks too, particularly to proteins. The red blood cells that circulate in the body live for about three months before they die. When sugar (glucose) sticks to these red blood cells by binding to hemoglobin A1c, it gives us an idea of how much glucose has been around in the blood for the preceding three months. Hemoglobin A1c is a minor component of hemoglobin to which gl Continue reading >>
Effect Of Aging On A1c Levels In Individuals Without Diabetes
Go to: Abstract OBJECTIVE—Although glycemic levels are known to rise with normal aging, the nondiabetic A1C range is not age specific. We examined whether A1C was associated with age in nondiabetic subjects and in subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) in two population-based cohorts. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We performed cross-sectional analyses of A1C across age categories in 2,473 nondiabetic participants of the Framingham Offspring Study (FOS) and in 3,270 nondiabetic participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2004. In FOS, we examined A1C by age in a subset with NGT, i.e., after excluding those with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and/or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Multivariate analyses were performed, adjusting for sex, BMI, fasting glucose, and 2-h postload glucose values. RESULTS—In the FOS and NHANES cohorts, A1C levels were positively associated with age in nondiabetic subjects. Linear regression revealed 0.014- and 0.010-unit increases in A1C per year in the nondiabetic FOS and NHANES populations, respectively. The 97.5th percentiles for A1C were 6.0% and 5.6% for nondiabetic individuals aged <40 years in FOS and NHANES, respectively, compared with 6.6% and 6.2% for individuals aged ≥70 years (Ptrend < 0.001). The association of A1C with age was similar when restricted to the subset of FOS subjects with NGT and after adjustments for sex, BMI, fasting glucose, and 2-h postload glucose values. CONCLUSIONS—A1C levels are positively associated with age in nondiabetic populations even after exclusion of subjects with IFG and/or IGT. Further studies are needed to determine whether age-specific diagnostic and treatment criteria would be appropriate. Continue reading >>
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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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 high pressure (or performance) liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC separates mixtures (for example, blood) into its various components by adding the mixtures to special liquids and passing them under pressure through columns filled with a material that separates the mixture into its different component molecules. HbA1c testing is done on a blood sample. Because HbA1c is not affected by short-term fluctuations in blood glucose concentrations, for example, due to meals, blood can be drawn for HbA1c testing without regard to when food was eaten. Fasting for the blood test is not necessary. What Are Continue reading >>
What Is The Best A1c Level For Older Adults With Diabetes?
Researchers find that while an A1c closer to a normal level is best, their findings suggest older individuals with diabetes would benefit from personalized A1c goals. The Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) means glycosylated hemoglobin. Red blood cells live for approximately 3 months and sugar happens to stick to them so the HbA1c test (or A1c test) is a blood test that is able to measure this glucose amount and provide an overall view of blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. This is a test that is done at a doctor’s office or in a lab where blood is taken from a vein. The test results are given in percentages such as between 4 percent on up. The ADA recommends people with diabetes keep their A1c below 7 percent but states that personalized targets should be set for each individual. A person’s A1c level has been closely tied to a higher risk for death in middle-age populations. Research has shown that the lower the A1c, the better. However, it hasn’t been clear what the best A1c for older adults with diabetes should be, thus scientists in this study sought to find out the risk of death by A1c levels in older adults with and without diabetes. The researchers studied data involving 7,333 adults age 65 and up from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey called NHANES III which took captured data between 1994-1998 and Continuous NHANES between 1999-2004 as well as their linked mortality data through December 2011. They used Cox proportional hazards models to check the relationship between A1c levels and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific, (like heart disease or cancer) death, viewing separately for adults with and without diabetes. What is the Best A1c for Older Adults with Diabetes? Researchers wrote in their study abstract that over a median follow 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 >>
Elderly A1c Targets: Should Older People Have More Relaxed Glucose Goals?
You may have read that the lower your A1C level, the better. For best health, people with diabetes should aim for glucose as close to normal as possible. But some new research shows this may not be true for older people. According to these studies, seniors could decide not to shoot for tight control of blood sugar or cholesterol. One study from Japan showed that lower HbA1c levels (a measure of average glucose control over the previous 2–3 months) were actually linked with an increased the risk of frailty in older adults. Frailty was measured in the study as how much help a person needs in living, and how poorly he or she recovers from an illness or injury. Toshihiko Yanase, MD, PhD of Fukuoka University School of Medicine, Japan, reported, “The risk factors of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood glucose, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension, in middle age may shift from an unfavorable risk to favorable factors in old age.” The study was published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation and reported by the online site Healio.com. Yanase and colleagues analyzed data from 132 adults aged at least 65 years with Type 2 diabetes Average age was 78. The subjects had had diabetes for an average of 17 years and their mean A1C was 7.3%. The subjects were categorized as frail or not on a 9-point clinical frailty scale (CFS). The CFS goes from 1 (very fit) to 9 (terminally ill). People who rated 5 or higher were classed as frail. Seventy-seven were not frail; 55 were. In those with higher frailty scores, HbA1c levels were found to be significantly lower. The causes of frailty are not well understood. In men, frailty is strongly associated with loss of muscle mass. As you get weaker and thinner, you become more fragile. The same is probably true of women, although Continue reading >>
What Is Normal Blood Sugar In People Over 60?
Age isn’t a factor when it comes to determining a safe blood sugar level. However, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes does increase with age. Diabetes is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels rise because the body can’t use a type of sugar called glucose normally. If you’re overweight and over age 45, the American Diabetes Association recommends being tested for diabetes during your next routine medical exam. If your weight is normal and you're over 45, ask your doctor if testing is appropriate. Video of the Day Glucose is the body’s main source of energy, and glucose levels in the blood are regulated by the hormone insulin, which is made in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes occurs if the pancreas doesn’t make any or enough insulin. In the far more common type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t respond normally to insulin secretions. Both children and adults can suffer from diabetes. Symptoms include extreme thirst, increased urination and unexplained weight loss. To test if you have high blood sugar or might be at risk of developing diabetes, you can take a fasting glucose test, or FGT, or an oral glucose tolerance test, or OGTT. You need to fast overnight before taking either test. With the FGT test, blood glucose is measured first thing in the morning before eating. With the OGTT test, blood glucose is measured after fasting and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink. Your fasting blood glucose level is considered normal if it’s below 100 milligrams per deciliter. You’re considered borderline diabetic if your blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dL. If you measure 126 mg/dL or more on two different days, you have diabetes. Without testing, you might not even be aware that your blood sugar is higher than normal, but treatment is important. Continue reading >>