Last updated on February 2nd, 2023
A1C is a blood test carried out by a healthcare expert to find an average of blood glucose levels over the last two to three months. If a person has been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, he or she possibly had their A1C tested. A1C is a useful tool to give a better understanding of the overall blood glucose control, letting a person and his or her doctor detect whether there are any trends between each visit as well as the doctor can assess how the existing diabetes treatment plan is functioning. Since A1C is evaluated in terms of a percentage, this value might be more difficult to understand than a blood glucose value, similar to the one that appears on a blood glucose meter. Also, an A1C calculator can be used to understand how an A1C percentage compares with an average blood glucose value and the other way around. Prior to using a calculator, it can be useful for a person to be familiar with what A1C tells and what impacts its value.
What is an A1C test?
The hemoglobin A1c test gives an average level of blood glucose values over the previous two to three months. It’s also known by the terms HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, or glycohemoglobin. It’s very much similar to a baseball player’s season flapping average. A solo game fails to tell a person how a player is executing in their profession. In addition, one-day results also fail to provide a complete picture of the working status of the treatment. Diabetics require going for this test often to understand if their levels stay within the limit. Also, the test tells a person whether there is any need to adjust the anti-diabetes medicines. Also, the A1c test can be used to diagnose diabetes.
ADA recommends the utilization of a new phrase in diabetes care, estimated average glucose, or eAG. The doctors can report A1C results to patients by making use of the similar units (mg/dl or mmol/l) that patients perceive habitually in their blood sugar assessments. The calculator as well as the information is given below defines the association between the A1C and eAG and how eAG can help improve sugar control in patients with diabetes.
The association between A1C and eAG can be defined by the formula 28.7 X A1C – 46.7 = eAG.
What does A1C evaluate?
Every diabetic patient might be speculating what makes the A1C test diverse, particularly if a person is already checking his or her levels of blood glucose multiple times every day.
What is hemoglobin in this HbA1C test? Hemoglobin is a protein present within the RBCs, and its role is to move oxygen to the lungs as well as all the body cells. Glucose gets in the bloodstream and gets stuck or glycated to the hemoglobin. The greater is the value of blood sugar, the more glycation of the hemoglobin is.
As the lifespan of an RBC is approximately 4 months, the A1C% reflects the average levels of blood sugar noticed on the hemoglobin cells of variable ages i.e., days, weeks, or months old. If the blood sugar control has usually been stable, the hemoglobin cells would not be exceedingly sugar-coated, or “glycated,” resulting in a lower A1C value.
How Often Should a Person Go for an A1C Lab Test?
The concerned healthcare provider might tell a diabetic patient for an A1C test every 3 months to monitor diabetes intervention modifications like changes in the medicines, insulin pump settings, or other regions of diabetes self-care. If the blood sugar falls within the range and is stable, the doctor might only order the test every 6 months. If a person has not been diagnosed with this condition, at times A1C can be used in combination with other evaluations in order to help diagnose diabetes. It might also be useful as a baseline evaluation for individuals having a strong family history of diabetes or other risk factors to perceive whether the levels are amplifying with time.
What are A1C Ranges and Objectives?
The lesser the value of A1C, the less sugar will be getting coated over the hemoglobin. The greater is the A1C value, the more sugar will be present in the hemoglobin. Hence, greater A1C levels are characteristically associated with greater circulating levels of blood sugar.
As per the CDC, a standard A1C level is under 5.7%. this is the value for any non-diabetic person. However, if a person’s body becomes less effective at transferring sugar into the cells to be utilized for energy, or has become insulin resistant, then levels might enhance from 5.7% to 6.4%, which is measured as being prediabetic. Those with levels ranging from 6.5% and more fall under the class of diabetics.
A healthcare provider can recommend a person for an individualized A1C goal that takes into accounts the following factors:
- Person’s age
- Will to spend time over diabetes self-care
- Risk of hypoglycemia
- Financial convenience of tools like test strips, medicines, insulin, insulin pumps, or glucose monitors
- Other ongoing medical conditions and the personal goals
Also, certain conditions have an impact on the A1C levels such as anemia and sickle cell disease. It is no good or bad in A1C results, they are just facts. There are a lot of challenges in a diabetic person’s life and they don’t have control over regulating their blood sugar, also they lose control over other problems like pain from an injury, stress, not eating on time, and more. Don’t panic on looking at the A1C number, a person must discuss his or her lab result at each office visit.
How Does A1C Associate With Glucose Averages?
Even though an A1C level provides a sense of average sugar levels over the previous few months, an individual having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes must have a blood glucose meter so that he or she can check their blood glucose levels and adopt proper treatment choices on daily basis.
If a person tests frequently during the day, just like prior to and post-meals and other times that the blood glucose value may differ and utilize a precise glucose meter, this provides valuable info on daily differences in the levels of blood glucose. The majority of blood glucose meters are also equipped to deliver 7, 14, 30, or 90-day averages. A 90-day average on the glucose meter can help estimate how it may associate with an A1C.
Glucose meter averages depend upon the rate that a person tests per day, hence if a person does not have many data points (i.e., testing occasionally or not throughout high or low blood sugar swings) or a person is incapable of testing at certain times (i.e., while a person is sleeping), it perhaps won’t provide a complete picture of the glucose levels and might slant lower as compared to an A1C test result.
Estimated Average Glucose (EAG)
The ADA proposes to use estimated average glucose (EAG) for associating the A1C percentage with an average which is a more familiar evaluation tool. The ADA has calculated how A1C and EAG are linked, which is the groundwork for the A1C to EAG calculator. The EAG value from the A1C calculator gives information on how the blood glucose numbers average in a unit of assessment that is accustomed, similar to on a blood glucose meter. This value might not help in making treatment decisions but can help in associating the A1C with estimated average glucose to give an improved idea of how close a person is towards his or her target ranges. If the A1C is higher, the EAG will also be higher. And vice-versa if the A1C is lower, the EAG will be lesser, thus these two numbers will track likewise.
Tips for Improving the A1C levels
- Partner with a healthcare provider. Discuss whether there is a requirement of modifying the medicine, insulin, or insulin pump settings.
- Craft routines. Try testing using a blood glucose meter, consume medicines or insulin, and exercise at roughly the same time every day. This assists in creating routines so that a person never forgets his or her self-care activities and assists the concerned healthcare provider in detecting patterns in the levels of blood glucose.
- Obtain more information. Test blood sugar more often and ensure checking two hours after taking a meal, not just prior to meals. These post-meal readings are mainly associated with the A1C number and inform how well the body is handling the food.
- Make progression rectifications speedily. If a person finds that he or she is always having a low blood glucose value prior to having dinner, an afternoon snack is a great addition. If the blood glucose is high, a lot of water should be consumed and it is a must to go for a walk (as long as the number is under 250mg/dL, if the value is greater, do not exercise).
- Tighten up the carb intake. A kitchen scale can help measure the accurate portions of carb-containing foods. Making use of an app like Calorie King to find the exact carb content of foods can be great in helping a person to get on track.
- Mitigate stress. Stress may elevate the levels of blood glucose, so look for ways to relax. Go for a walk, read a book, spend time with a friend, do yoga or meditation, or visit a therapist for getting proper support. This constitutes self-care, particularly when a person is diabetic.
- Magnify activity, even in slight quantities. Walking for 10 minutes post every meal has been found to make better blood sugar. Be physically active and keep moving.
People frequently wonder how long it would take to recover their A1C number. By following an appropriate diabetes management plan, a person may improve his or her A1C by the next 3-month check. A1C might carry on going down at every visit if a person carries on partnering with his or her doctor and follow the above-stated tips.
It’s not useful to test A1C levels more often than every 3 months, and more often testing is not always insurance-covered. If a person feels like he or she has followed the healthcare provider’s suggestions but the A1C level is high, it’s not advised to take that personally. Again, a lot of factors exist that make diabetes care problematic, and if a person carries on working on it, his or her number will come down.
The A1C test provides a clear picture of the overall sugar levels. Utilizing an A1C calculator offers a diabetic person an idea of how A1C interprets into an EAG number that a person may identify, using a similar unit of evaluation as revealed on a blood glucose meter. On the other hand, take care that A1C objectives may be diverse for every individual depending upon age, treatment goals, availability of diabetes supplies, as well as other existing medical conditions, thus don’t be anxious about discussing the same with a healthcare expert regarding setting unique goals to lead to better diabetes care.
What A1C level needs medicine?
Lifestyle modifications must be the foundation of type 2 diabetes treatment. The suggestion continues to say that for patients who attain an A1c under 6.5% with medicines, people must reduce or even stop those medications.
At what A1C is insulin suggested?
The treatment target for many diabetic patients is an A1C of 7% or less; those with greater levels might require a more intensive medicine plan.
What is the standard value of A1c for seniors?
The key evaluation of diabetes management is HbA1c. For healthy people with an age of more than 65 years with a long-life expectancy, the target must be 7.0 to 7.5%. For people having moderate comorbidity and a life expectancy of below 10 years, the target must be 7.5 to 8.0%.
What is the crucial value of A1c?
A person is non-diabetic when A1C is below 5.7. a person is pre-diabetic when the value lies between 5.7 and 6.4. When the A1C value goes more than 9.0, it is a critically high value.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.