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 >>
How Often Should People With Diabetes Check Their A1c?
A new study concludes that people who have diabetes should check their blood glucose level with A1C tests more often than the experts recommend. But even then, the study doesn’t go far enough. The study looked at more than 400,000 tests by about 80,000 people whose doctors prescribed them between 2008 and 2011. It focused on the relationship between the retest interval and the percentage change in A1C level. The results of this massive analysis just appeared in the current issue of Diabetes Care. The abstract of the study is free online, and an endocrinologist friend of mine kindly gave me a copy of the full text. If you want to quickly reduce your A1C level, the best strategy is to get an A1C test every three months. That’s the main conclusion of the study. This is particularly true if you level is 7.0 or more. While Diabetes Care is a professional journal of the American Diabetes Association, this is more frequent than the ADA currently recommends. People who are "meeting their treatment goals" and who have stable blood glucose control should get their A1C tested at least every six months, according to the ADA’s "Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2014." Only when people recently change their treatment or aren’t achieving their blood sugar targets do they need to be tested every three months, the ADA’s recommendation continues. But what does "meeting their treatment goals" mean? While the ADA says that the goal can vary for different people, the general glycemic goal is an A1C level of less than 7.0. This goal is just a little less than the average A1C level of Americans with diabetes in the most recent years for which data are available. An analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the mean (average) A1C among adults with Continue reading >>
How Often Should You Check Your A1c Measures If You Have Diabetes?
ANSWER If you have diabetes, you should check your blood sugar often to make sure your levels are in check. A hemoglobin A1c test is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. It's a way to check how well you control your blood sugar over time. A1c measures how much glucose has been "sticking" to your red blood cells. If your treatment changes or your blood sugar control is not on target, then you should repeat the test every 3 months. Continue reading >>
A1c (hemoglobin A1c)
~ Martin J. Abrahamson, M.D. The A1C is an important measurement of how effectively you are managing your diabetes. The A1C, which is also called a glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C test, reflects your average blood glucose control for the two- to three-month period before the test. This test can be done on a sample of blood obtained from a fingerstick or from a small vial of blood drawn from your arm and then tested in a laboratory..At Joslin we recommend that this test be done every three to six months. A person without diabetes would have an A1C between 4% and 6%. According to Joslin’s Clinical Guidelines, we recommend that you aim for an A1C value of less than 7%, as long as achieving this goal does not increase the risk for developing low blood glucose (or blood sugars), called hypoglycemia. Ask your healthcare provider what your A1C target should be. The higher your A1C, the greater your risk for developing complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, neuropathy and circulation problems. By keeping blood glucose levels and your A1C in your target range, you’ll greatly lower your chances of getting these complications. As a complement to the A1C test, we recommend that you monitor your blood glucose regularly at home with a meter. Checking your blood glucose tells you how your diabetes is doing on a day-to-day basis. Some people check their glucose once a day while some check eight times a day, depending on how their diabetes is treated and how well-controlled their diabetes is. Your healthcare team can help you determine how often to check. There are times when you should check more often than usual, such as when you’re sick or if you’re starting a new diabetes medicine. Also, women who are pregnant and have diabetes need to check more oft Continue reading >>
How Often Should I Be Tested For Prediabetes?
Your healthcare provider will test for prediabetes using a hemoglobin A1c test, a blood test that measures your average blood glucose level over the last three months. If you fall into the prediabetes range of 5.8% to 6.4%, you will be tested every year. If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, it is reasonable to be checked every 3 years. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every 1-2 years after your diagnosis. Continue Learning about Prediabetes Videos Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs. Continue reading >>
5 Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Test Your Blood Sugar
How often you test depends on several different factors.(FOTOLIA)You should test your blood sugar at home, but how often is enough? Well, it dependsmostly on your medication, you, and your doctor. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood sugar at least three times a day if you need multiple daily insulin injections. But for the rest of those with type 2 diabetes, testing frequency should be "dictated by the particular needs and goals of the patients," the ADA says. That means that frequent testing is clearly necessarily for some people with type 2 diabetes, but there is a little wiggle room for others. (All type 1 diabetics take multiple daily insulin injections and need to monitor blood sugar frequently.) Some studies suggest that frequent monitoring is not always helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. But that research is still being debated. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you determine how often and when you should be testing. Testing Each DayI test morning, evening, and before meals Watch videoMore about blood sugar monitoring How often you test depends on the following factors. Medication: Some classes of oral drugs can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, so you may need to test more often. "Generally, anyone who takes insulin should test several times a day as well as individuals who take sulfonylureas or meglitinides," says Nadine Uplinger, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and director of the Gutman Diabetes Institute at the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. Changes: If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes, started on a new medication, added a new type of food, or recently changed some other factor (for example, you have gained or lost weight, or are exercising more or l Continue reading >>
Shorthand for hemoglobin A1C or glycosylated hemoglobin, an indicator of blood glucose control over the previous two to three months. Hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. Some of the glucose in the bloodstream can also bind to hemoglobin molecules for the life of the red blood cell, which is about four months. Throughout the life of the red blood cell, the higher the blood glucose level, the more glucose that becomes bound to the hemoglobin in that cell. The percentage of hemoglobin in a blood sample that is glycosylated (has glucose attached to it) indicates how well blood glucose has been controlled over the previous two to three months. Typically, people who do not have diabetes have an HbA1c value of less than 6%. Based on the results of studies such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, which showed that tight blood glucose control could reduce the risk of diabetic eye, kidney, and nerve disease, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an HbA1c goal of less than 7% for people with diabetes in general. How often should people with diabetes have their HbA1c level tested? According to the ADA, people who are meeting their treatment goals and who have stable blood glucose control should get HbA1c testing at least twice a year. People whose treatment has been changed recently or who are not achieving their blood glucose targets should be tested four times a year. Continue reading >>
The Abcs Of Diabetes: A1c, Blood Pressure, And Cholesterol
Three important diabetes measures There is so much to think about when you have diabetes, but this easy-to-remember acronym will help you focus on what’s important and take control of your health. Read our breakdown and talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. A = AIC What is it? An A1C blood test measures the percentage of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells) coated with sugar. It measures your average blood glucose (sugar) level over the past two to three months. The A1C test gives you and your health care provider a measure of your progress. Most people with diabetes should have an A1C test every three to six months; people who are meeting their treatment goals may need the test only twice a year. Why is it important? The A1C test is a good measure of how well your glucose is under control. It can also be a good tool for determining if someone with prediabetes is progressing toward or has developed type 2 diabetes. Adults over age 45 with hypertension, obesity, or a family history of diabetes also are advised to get an A1C test because they have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Finding out you have an elevated A1C is a cue to make positive changes to your lifestyle. What do the numbers mean? 5.7% or lower = normal blood glucose levels 5.8–6.4% = elevated blood glucose levels (prediabetes) 6.5% or higher = diabetes What should my numbers be? For years, people with type 2 were told to strive for an A1C of 7 percent or less, but new research indicates that one level doesn’t fit all. Based on your health status, age, and risk factors, you and your health care provider should determine an A1C goal for you. Here are the American Diabetes Association’s new general guidelines: Person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabet Continue reading >>
Why The A1c Test Is Important
The A1c is a blood test, done in a lab, that shows what your average blood sugar has been for the past 3 months. Other names for this test are glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c. How the A1c Test Works The glucose that the body doesn't store or use for energy stays in the blood and attaches to red blood cells, which live in the bloodstream for about 4 months. The lab test measures the amount of glucose attached to the red blood cells. The amount is the A1c and is shown as a percentage. Your A1c number can give you and your health care team a good idea of how well you've controlled your blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months. When you get your A1c result from a Kaiser Permanente lab, you'll also see another number called the estimated Average Glucose, or eAG. Understanding the eAG Your estimated Average Glucose (eAG) number is calculated from the result of your A1c test. Like the A1c, the eAG shows what your average blood sugars have been over the previous 2 to 3 months. Instead of a percentage, the eAG is in the same units (mg/dl) as your blood glucose meter. The chart shows the relationship between the A1c percentage and the eAG. If A1c % is: Your eAG is: 6 126 6.5 140 7 154 7.5 169 8 183 8.5 197 9 212 9.5 226 10 240 10.5 255 11 269 11.5 283 12 298 What the Numbers Mean The A1c and eAG reflect your average blood sugar over a period of time. These numbers help you and your doctor see how well your treatment plan is working. The higher your A1c and eAG numbers are, the higher your chances for having long-term health problems caused by consistently high blood sugar levels. These problems include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, vision problems, and numbness in your legs or feet. The lower your A1c and eAG numbers, the lower you Continue reading >>
How To Lower Your A1c Levels: A Healthful Guide
An A1C blood test measures average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend the use of A1C tests to help diagnose cases of prediabetes, type 1, and type 2 diabetes. A1C tests are also used to monitor diabetes treatment plans. What is an A1C test? An A1C test measures how well the body is maintaining blood glucose levels. To do this, an A1C test averages the percentage of sugar-bound hemoglobin in a blood sample. When glucose enters the blood, it binds to a red blood cell protein called hemoglobin. The higher blood glucose levels are, the more hemoglobin is bound. Red blood cells live for around 4 months, so A1C results reflect long-term blood glucose levels. A1C tests are done using blood obtained by a finger prick or blood draw. Physicians will usually repeat A1C tests before diagnosing diabetes. Initial A1C tests help physicians work out an individual's baseline A1C level for later comparison. How often A1C tests are required after diagnosis varies depending on the type of diabetes and management factors. Lowering A1C levels Many studies have shown that lowering A1C levels can help reduce the risk or intensity of diabetes complications. With type 1 diabetes, more controlled blood glucose levels are associated with reduced rates of disease progression. With type 2 diabetes, more controlled A1C levels have also been shown to reduce symptoms affecting the small arteries and nerves in the body. This influences eyesight and pain while decreasing complications. Long-term studies have also shown that early and intensive blood glucose control can reduce cardiovascular complications in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Even small changes in A1C levels can have big effects. The ADA recommend that maintaining fair control 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>