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 bl Continue reading