Keeping Diabetes in Check: Why You Should Know Your A1C

Keeping Diabetes in Check: Why You Should Know Your A1C

Ever heard of your A1C? If you don't have diabetes, you may not even know what it is, but it's an important number to know, especially for those with prediabetes or those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For those whodo have diabetes, A1C levels can indicate whether or not a treatment plan is working. For those who don't, it can determine just how efficiently sugar is being processed within the body and is sometimes used by doctors to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes.

The A1C test is a blood test that shows the average amount of glucose (or sugar) in your blood over the past 3 months. It measures the percentage of sugar present, so the higher the number, the higher your blood sugar levels are.

The American Diabetes Association guidelines point to a hemoglobin A1C goal of 7 or below to prevent the complications of uncontrolled diabetes. A normal A1C level for those without diabetes is below 5.7.

Here's how those percentages translate to blood glucose values.

It's encouraged to have your hemoglobin A1C checked twice yearly. Your physician may request that you have it done more or less often. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your physician or diabetes educator.

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by rondom
June 30, 2015
I've been trying to lower my A1c, so far too little. Now at 6.2. For past 15 months, have lost 18 LBS (154) and about 2 inches off my waist. I have 1 healthy smoothie every day for breakfast, usually greens, fruit, varies (strawberries, bluberries, goji, mango, pineapple, flax seeds. ginger, almond milk. Sometimes hemp seeds, protein powder, supergreens powder, coconut oil. Anything else I can try?
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