Why is A1C Testing Important?

The A1C test gives you a snapshot of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past 2 to 3 months. and the results offer great insight on how well your diabetes treatment plan is working.

In some ways, the A1C test is like a baseball player’s season batting average, it tells you about a person’s overall success. Neither a single day’s blood test results nor a single game’s batting record gives the same big picture.

A1C test can help you manage your diabetes by confirming self-testing results or blood test results by the doctor. It can also judge whether a treatment plan is working and show you how healthy choices can make a difference in diabetes control.

<em>What is a hemoglobin A1c?</em><!–more–>

To explain what an A1c is, think in simple terms. Sugar sticks, and when it’s around for a long time, it’s harder to get it off. In the body, sugar sticks too, particularly to proteins. The red blood cells that circulate in the body live for about three months before they die. When sugar sticks to these cells, it gives us an idea of how much sugar has been around for the preceding three months. In most labs, the normal range is 4-5.9 %. In poorly controlled diabetes, its 8.0% or above, and in well controlled patients it’s less than 7.0%. The benefits of measuring A1c is that is gives a more reasonable view of what’s happening over the course of time (3 months), and the value does not bounce as much as finger stick blood sugar measurements.

While there are no guidelines to use A1c as a screening tool, it gives a physician a good idea that someone is diabetic if the value is elevated. Right now, it is used as a standard tool to determine blood sugar control in patients known to have diabetes.

There is a correlation between A1c levels and average blood sugar levels as follows:

A1c(%)     Mean blood sugar (mg/dl)
6                         135
7                         170
8                         205
9                         240
10                       275
11                        310
12                        345

The American Diabetes Association currently recommends an A1c goal of less than 7.0%, while other groups such as the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommend a goal of less than 6.5%.

Now is the time to be tested.  Call DiAMC to schedule your screening today.