HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c) A1c Chart, Test, Levels, & Normal Range

HbA1c Levels

Hemoglobin is a kind of molecule that is present in red blood cells and helps in carrying oxygen to the body’s tissue. Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c or glycosylated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that contains sugar.

People with diabetes are known to have a higher amount of glycosylated hemoglobin level than non- diabetic people. Therefore, in order to have a control level of blood glucose, HbA1c tests are done.

Need to monitor HbA1c level

Blood Glucose level can fluctuate every minute depending upon your activity and the food you eat. Therefore, it is important to regularly monitor your blood glucose or sugar levels. It helps in understanding how your blood glucose levels are changing and how your meals are affecting it.

Generally, urine tests and daily pricks methods were used to measure sugar levels in people with high blood sugar levels. Although, these tests are somewhat accurate but have the limitation to be accurate at a certain moment. HbA1c test is helpful in measuring average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. People with diabetes are required to get this test done regularly so that they can keep a check on their blood sugar levels. This ultimately helps in diabetes management.

Reasons for fluctuations in glycosylated hemoglobin

Use of Insulin, fasting, oral intake of glucose or frequent fluctuations in your blood sugar levels are the most common reasons for the alteration in glycosylated hemoglobin levels. If people with diabetes notice the fluctuations in their glycosylated Hb level, they should consult doctors to maintain the HbA1c levels at the normal range. This helps in reducing risks and avoiding complications due to diabetes.

Measure of glucose in glycosylated hemoglobin

In glycosylated hemoglobin test, the percentage of hemoglobin which is bound to the glucose is measured. The average concentration of blood glucose is reflected in this test over a period of past three months. The glycosylated hemoglobin can be measured in percentage or in units of mmol/mol. This is now a standard unit in which glycosylated hemoglobin is measured all over the world.

Know your normal range of HbA1c

normal range of HbA1c

People can have different normal ranges of HbA1c. Here you can check out what should be the normal levels of glycosylated hemoglobin for individuals:

  • In non-diabetic people: Several reports have revealed that the complications of diabetes can be reduced if your HbA1c range is below 7%. A healthy person can have HbA1c measure less than 6% of the total hemoglobin. Below 6.0%, or below 42 mmol/mol is the normal value for a non-diabetic adult.
  • In pre-diabetic person: If your blood sugar levels are slightly higher than the normal range then you are a pre-diabetic person. Your diabetes levels are not too high to be considered as type-2 diabetes. With a proper lifestyle and diet management, you can control your diabetes. Your normal HbA1c value is 6.0% to 6.4%, or 42 to 47 mmol/mol.
  • In diabetic people: Any person suffering from type-2 diabetes then your normal value is 6.5% or above, or 48 mmol/mol or above. This range may be normal but there is a need for proper guidance of doctors and medications along with healthy lifestyle change to maintain the range. If your value goes beyond the mentioned range then it can increase the risk of heart stroke, peripheral artery disease, glaucoma, diabetic foot, diabetic kidney disease and more.

Not all high values of HbA1c means you are diabetic

If someone gets the higher values in HbA1c reports, it does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from high diabetes. A lot of people are there who have a variant form of hemoglobin other than type A. This is known as hemoglobinopathy and can seriously show the high or low values of HbA1c.

If you are anaemic or have a deficiency of iron in your body then also you are likely to get the wrong values on the average of 3 month diabetes test. Therefore, if you want the average of 3 months blood glucose test done, make sure you are not anaemic.

There are some medications also well which can alter your results of glycosylated hemoglobin test levels. These include:

  • Supplements like Vitamin C or E, iron, vitamin B12 and folate
  • Erythropoietin therapy
  • Aspirin
  • Antiviral and antimicrobial medicines.

If you are going for glycosylate hemoglobin test, your doctor will make sure of the factors that can affect your test results.

Hemoglobin A1c conversion chart (HbA1c chart)

Till now there is no specific guideline by concerned health organizations for using Hemoglobin A1c test as the tool to screen diabetes. However, HbA1c high values indicate that a person may have diabetes.

The following chart shows the correlation between HbA1c levels and average blood sugar levels.

A1(%)Mean blood sugar (mg/dl)
6135
7170
8205
9240
10275
11310
12345

Studies have shown that 1% reduction in HbA1c glucose level reduces the risk of microvascular diseases upto 10%. Thus, when you get closer to HbA1c normal level, the absolute risk of microvascular diseases or complications also get lower.

Benefits of testing diabetes with HbA1c over other diabetes test

There are a number of benefits for which diabetes test using HbA1c is preferred over the other types of diabetes test. Some of the benefits include:

  • No preparations are required: There is no need of preparations beforehand to get the HbA1c test done. It can be done at any time of the day. However, the other diabetes tests require fasting. In such a type of test, a person is required to fast for atleast 5-6 hours. After the fasting test for diabetes is done, there is another after meal blood test done to know the levels of your blood sugar post meal.
  • No special diet to follow: An oral glucose tolerance test is another kind of test to diagnose diabetes. In this type of test a special diet is required to be followed for 3 days before you get your test done. Along with this, you are also supposed to fast overnight before the test. However, while going for HbA1c checked, you can eat or drink anything you like.
  • Convenient and time saving: Within a couple of hours multiple blood tests are done to know the blood sugar levels in various other tests to diagnose or check sugar levels. However, HbA1c is a single blood test. You can even get the HbA1c report within 24 hours of the test and the procedure is also simple.

Limitations of measuring value of Hemoglobin A1c

Hemoglobin a1c test is not suitable if you need to track your day to day blood sugar level. This is because HbA1c does not get influenced with the fluctuations of blood glucose level. You also cannot diagnose presence or absence of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. You may also get the false high value of HbA1c levels in case of kidney failure, high intake of alcohol, anaemia, thalassemia and sickle cell disease.

Natural ways to bring HbA1c normal

Those who have the higher levels of HbA1c can bring down the level of HbA1c to normal range through medications. Apart from this, there are some natural ways as well which can bring your HbA1c normal. These include:

  • Quit smoking to get hemoglobin A1c levels down.
  • Eat balanced and healthy diet so that your immune system and hormonal balance is maintained.
  • Exercising is another natural way to control your increased levels of glycosylate hemoglobin. It helps in losing weight and lowering blood sugar which ultimately results in enhancing insulin sensitivity.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels in control.

FAQ’s:

What is the cost of Hemoglobin A1c level test?

Well, the cost of this test is a bit higher than the normal blood sugar test but it gives you the most accurate results over the past three months. In India, the average cost of HbA1C or glycosylate hemoglobin test is around Rs 500.

Can you check the gestational diabetes with HbA1c ?

No. Gestational diabetes cannot be diagnosed with an HbA1c blood test. An oral glucose tolerance test is used instead to check gestational diabetes.

Can HbA1c blood test be done at home?

A home test is ideally good for those who are known diabetic. You can get the FDA approved test kit to monitor your glucose management over the time. You just have to follow the HbA1c test procedure mentioned in the kit to get the test results.

How is glycosylated hemoglobin tested?

There is no need of fasting before the test unlike the blood glucose test. Glycosylated Hb test is a simple blood test. Blood samples can be taken by the doctor or pathologist.

A1c Chart, Test, Levels, & Normal Range

The individuals having the stable blood glucose level should have a Hemoglobin A1c test done in every six months. However, people with diabetes or those who are trying to have a control on their blood sugar level should get this test done every three months.

Reference:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/glycated-hemoglobin-test-hba1c#:~:text=For%20people%20without%20diabetes%2C%20the,higher%20mean%20you%20have%20diabetes.
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/hemoglobin_a1c_test/article.htm
  3. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/hemoglobin_a1c_hba1c/article_em.htm
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/ac1-test#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
  5. https://www.medifee.com/tests/hba1c-cost/

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