Diabetes and the A1C Test: What Does It Tell You?
The A1C test (also known as HbA1C, glycated hemoglobin
or glycosylated hemoglobin) is a good general measure of diabetes care. While conventional home glucose monitoring measures a person’s blood sugar at a given moment, A1C levels indicate a person’s average blood glucose level over the past few months.
Understanding A1C Numbers
For a person without diabetes, a typical A1C level is about 5 percent.
For someone with diabetes, experts disagree somewhat on what the A1C target should be. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an A1C target of less than or equal to 7 percent. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends a level of 6.5 percent or below.
The ADA also emphasizes that A1C goals should be individualized. Those with diabetes should check with a healthcare professional to learn what their A1C targets should be. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that, in general, every percentage point drop in an A1C blood test results (e.g., from 8 percent to 7 percent) reduces the risk of eye, kidney and nerve disease by 40 percent.
The chart below shows what the A1C means in terms of average blood glucose levels. An average blood glucose of 150 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) translates into an A1C of about 7 percent. This is above normal, given that a diagnosis of diabetes is usually given when blood sugar levels reach about 126 mg/dL.
Note that the A1C is not the same as the estimated average glucose (eAG), which is the two to three-month average in mg/dL, but the A1C directly correlates to the eAG. When you are testing your blood su Continue reading