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10 Facts About A1c Levels

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What is A1C

The use of A1c levels is a very convenient way of diagnosing and examining people with diabetes type 1 and 2. If the levels of glucose in the blood is high, then the A1c levels will be high.

Before we proceed with the significant aspects of A1C, let us first identify what is hemoglobin A1C blood test below.

What is A1C Test

Hemoglobin A1C test (also hemoglobin A1c, Hgb A1c, glycohemoglobin, or HbA1c test) is a blood test to determine the average blood sugar levels of an individual for the past 3 months. Now, what is normal A1C?

Hemoglobin A1C Range

We can categorically place range positions for hba1c normal levels and high levels as indicated below.

What is a normal A1C level?

Normal A1C levels are within the A1C range of 4% to 5.6%. If within the A1C normal range, it means the person doesn’t have diabetes.

What is a high A1C level?

HgA1c levels out of the normal hemoglobin A1C range poses possible problem. A level between 5.7% and 6.4% is indicative of the risk of diabetes. While an A1C level of 6.5% or more is already A1C diabetes, meaning it indicates the presence of diabetes.

A1C Calculator

To compute your A1C you can simply use the formula below.

Glucose in mg/dL:

A1c = (46.7 + average_blood_glucose) / 28.7

Glucose in mmol/L:

A1c = (2.59 + average_blood_glucose) / 1.59

For further details, you may refer to the A1C levels chart at the end of this post.

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Facts About Hemoglobin A1c Levels

1. Helps identify blood sugar levels

HgbA1c levels is an effective way of testing blood sugar levels in the body. 

The test is performed by having an amount of blood taken for examination through the pricking of a finger. At times, the blood is drawn from the vein.

2. Evaluates glucose level for a longer period

A1c levels evaluate and determine the average glucose level in the blood for a period of 2 to 3 months, unlike the normal blood sugar test where it only indicates blood sugar levels at the particular time the test was conducted.

3. Measures hemoglobin

The A1c test measures the Hemoglobin (glycated hemoglobin) that stays in the body for a period of up to 4 months – it normally gets destroyed in the liver afterwards. 

In cases where glucose level are high, there will be more glucose that becomes normally attached to the hemoglobin, hence hiking of the A1c levels.

4. Does not require the need to skip meals

There is no need to skip meals before having the A1c test. Drinking or eating high sugar concentrated food or drink before the test cannot alter the result.

The test determines the glucose levels based on a longer period and the outcome cannot be influenced by any intakes within the past few hours or even days.

5. Recent changes are not reflected

Recent changes of A1C levels are not revealed in the test. 

The A1c test only determines the possibility of high glucose levels in the blood that has happened over a period of time.

If measures have been implemented to control high levels of glucose in the blood, a few days prior to the test, it will not reflect its influence in the results and will only show up later in about 2 to three months time.

6. Medication does not affect results

The A1c levels will achieve immediate changes with the use of diabetics drugs.

Most people who are suffering from diabetes are usually victims of poor control with glucose intake in their diet.

The A1c test is able to indicate this, and any decision to take diabetic medicines to help change the result will not be of any benefit.

As mentioned previously, the A1c is not an indication of the current blood glucose situation but rather what has been happening for a period of time.

7. Indicator of potential complications

A1c is also an indicator of future complications and risks.

If the test is repeated for several times and the levels of glucose keeps showing elevated results, it can be a clear indication of high possibility that the individual is suffering from complications associated with diabetes.

This is a perfect test to help control glucose levels, delay potential complications and even lower the harshness of symptoms associated with the disease.

8. Helps determine the risk for becoming diabetic

A1C shows the actual risk of developing diabetes.

If the average A1c levels shows glucose levels above 5.7%, then there is a higher possibility to suffer from diabetes in the future.

This aspect is very important considering that pre-diabetes can be controlled, whereas diabetes is not reversible.

9. May be inaccurate

A1c may however give inaccurate result at times. This can happen in cases where the patient had some past medical conditions like – anemia, high cholesterol, kidney complications – or has been taking doses of vitamins C or simply had donated blood.

The above factors can change results, therefore taking the test at a later date may be recommended.

10. Helps detect low insulin levels

A1c helps in the detection of low insulin levels.

Lower than normal HbA1c levels can be indicative of a problem. This is most likely to happen in people using insulin, in cases where insulin dose is taken incorrectly.

The low level may result to fainting and poor eye vision, where in some cases can be fatal.

Hemoglobin A1C Chart (HbA1c Chart)

You may use the A1C Conversion Chart below to understand your A1C levels.
a1c

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