What Is A Hemoglobin A1c Test
A hemoglobin A1C test is a blood test that shows what your average blood sugar level was over the past two to three months.
Glucose is a type of sugar in your blood that comes from the foods you eat. Your cells use glucose for energy. A hormone called insulin helps glucose get into your cells. If you have diabetes your body doesnât make enough insulin, or your cells donât use it well. As a result, glucose canât get into your cells, so your blood sugar levels increase.
Glucose in your blood sticks to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. As your blood glucose levels increase, more of your hemoglobin will be coated with glucose. An A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have glucose-coated hemoglobin.
An A1C test can show your average glucose level for the past three months because:
- Glucose sticks to hemoglobin for as long as the red blood cells are alive.
- Red blood cells live about three months.
High A1C levels are a sign of high blood glucose from diabetes. Diabetes can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. But with treatment and lifestyle changes, you can control your blood glucose levels.
Other names: HbA1C, A1C, glycohemoglobin, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin
How Do You Take A Hemoglobin A1c Test
People may have their blood drawn by a nurse at the doctors office or by a phlebotomist at a lab. Its also possible to use an at-home finger prick test, but a blood draw by professionals is the preferred method for the hemoglobin A1C test. After the blood is drawn, a lab will determine the test results and share that information with doctors and patients.
When Should Hemoglobin A1c Levels Be Tested
In addition to random fasting blood glucose levels, HbA1c levels are routinely measured in the monitoring of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. HbA1c levels depend on the blood glucose concentration. That is, the higher the glucose concentration in blood, the higher the level of HbA1c. Levels of HbA1c are not influenced by daily fluctuations in the blood glucose concentration but reflect the average glucose levels over the prior six to eight weeks. Therefore, HbA1c is a useful indicator of how well the blood glucose level has been controlled in the recent past and may be used to monitor the effects of diet, exercise, and drug therapy on blood glucose in people with diabetes.
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How Is The A1c Test Used To Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes And Prediabetes
Health care professionals can use the A1C test alone or in combination with other diabetes tests to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. You dont have to fast before having your blood drawn for an A1C test, which means that blood can be drawn for the test at any time of the day.
If you dont have symptoms but the A1C test shows you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should have a repeat test on a different day using the A1C test or one of the other diabetes tests to confirm the diagnosis.2
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What Is A High A1c
A1C results show the percent of glucose and hemoglobin bound together in your bloodstream. For example, a 5% A1C indicates five out of every 100 hemoglobins are glycated. The higher your A1C, the greater the risk of developing complications.
The A1C ranges for normal, prediabetes, and diabetes are:
- Normal: Less than 5.7%
- Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
- Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
Talk to your healthcare provider if your A1C is in the prediabetic range. Prediabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. A diet change, increased activity, and moderate weight loss can help improve blood sugar control to prevent diabetes.
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Association Of Elevated Glycosylated Hemoglobin A1c With Hyperfiltration In A Middle
Abstract To examine whether elevated glycosylated hemoglobin A1c is associated with hyperfiltration in a middle-aged and elderly Chinese population. Anthropometric and biochemical examinations were performed in 2491 individuals from the general population, aged 4079 years, who participated in the Huaian Diabetes Prevention Program. The estimated glomerular filtration rate was calculated from creatinine levels using the CKD-EPI formula. Hyperfiltration was defined as eGFR > 90th percentile. After adjustment , HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose were found to be independently positively associated with eGFR. Additionally, after multivariate adjustment, the odds ratios for hyperfiltration calculated for a 1-unit increase in HbA1c and FPG were 1.396 and 1.306 , respectively. Compared with participants with HbA1c levels < 5.7 %, the odds ratios for hyperfiltration were 2.344 in participants with HbA1c levels of 6.216.49 %, and 2.965 in those with HbA1c levels 6.5 %. Elevated HbA1c is associated with an increased odds of hyperfiltration in middle-aged and elderly Chinese. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore whether hyperfiltration increases the odds of diabetic nephropathy in individuals with prediabetes. Background With the continuing increase in the number of patients with diabetes mellitus, diabetic nephropathy has become the most common causContinue reading > >
Follow The Diabetes Treatment Plan Your Healthcare Team Recommends
Diabetes treatment is very individualized, noted a February 2022 article in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. After all, factors including how long youve lived with the disease, your socioeconomic status, and any other conditions youre living with can play a role in the best treatment approach for you.
Your healthcare team will help you determine which steps to take to successfully manage diabetes. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes, such as starting a diet very low in carbohydrates or beginning a new exercise regimen. This is especially important before making any medication or insulin changes.
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New Recommendations For Hba1c Targets For Type 2 Diabetes: Warranted Or Short
Hemoglobin A1c has been a standard test of long-term average blood glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes for more than a decade, and blood levels above accepted thresholds are used to diagnose both pre-diabetes and diabetes . While it is uniformly accepted that higher HbA1c levels are associated with greater risk of complications from diabetes, as well as the incidence of other diseases, the targets for reducing this biomarker in people with existing diabetes remain open to debate. In particular, aggressive pharmaceutical therapy increases both side effects and costs, which need to be considered when assessing the net benefits accrued from meeting specific HbA1c targets.
Recently the American College of Physicians published less stringent treatment goals than those advocated by the American Diabetes Association , resulting in an open debate between these two trusted medical organizations. As you might expect, this is of considerable interest to us at Virta as we strive to help our patients achieve even lower HbA1c values than either of these organizations recommend.
In other words, the method used to get to a specific HbA1c level will significantly affect the resulting risk-benefit ratio, and thus the appropriate targets will differ depending on the chosen method of treatment. So here, in detail, is how we at Virta justify setting an HbA1c target reflecting better blood glucose control than what is advocated by either the ACP or the ADA.
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What A1c Goal Should I Have
People will have different A1C targets, depending on their diabetes history and their general health. You should discuss your A1C target with your health care professional. Studies have shown that some people with diabetes can reduce the risk of diabetes complications by keeping A1C levels below 7 percent.
Managing blood glucose early in the course of diabetes may provide benefits for many years to come. However, an A1C level that is safe for one person may not be safe for another. For example, keeping an A1C level below 7 percent may not be safe if it leads to problems with hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose.
Less strict blood glucose control, or an A1C between 7 and 8 percentor even higher in some circumstancesmay be appropriate in people who have
- limited life expectancy
Youre Eating Healthy Foods But Youre Eating Too Much
Portion control is vital to managing your A1C, Gallagher says. Watching the amount you eat helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps you manage your intake of carbohydrates and maintain healthy blood sugar levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The agency offers a guide for estimating portion sizes. They also recommend taking steps to control your food intake, such as measuring out portions of snacks, rather than eating straight from the bag or box, and having your server wrap half of your meal if youre eating out, so you can enjoy it later. A registered dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist can help you develop a meal plan to help keep your blood sugar under control.
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What Do The Results Of The Test Mean
The test result is usually given as a percentage. The normal range for A1c is 4.5% to 5.7%. Most experts recommend a target A1c of less than 7.5% in children with type 1 diabetes and a target A1c of less than 7% in children with type 2 diabetes. Work with your childâs doctor to set your childâs target A1c.
The A1c test result also can be used to find your childâs estimated average glucose, or eAG. The eAG and A1c show the same thing in two different ways. They both help you learn more about your childâs average blood sugar range over the past 2 to 3 months. A1C is shown as a percent, while eAG uses the same units as your childâs glucose meter.
What Is It Used For
An A1C test may be used to screen for or diagnose:
- Type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes your blood glucose gets too high because your body doesnât make enough insulin to move blood sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, or because your cells stop responding to insulin.
- Prediabetes. Prediabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnosed as diabetes. Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercise, may help delay or prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, an A1C test can help monitor your condition and check how well youâve been able to control your blood sugar levels.
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What To Do If Your A1c Is 66
An A1c of 6.6 falls into the diabetic range between 6.5 and 10.0.
Reducing an A1c of 6.6 will take a combination of medication and lifestyle modifications. Seek medical advice to gain control of your blood sugar and avoid further damage to critical organs.
Keep an eye on your blood sugar by testing at home. Its easier than ever and there are a variety of affordable blood glucose monitors available.
Diabetes is manageable but only if you stick to a plan and monitor your progress with the help of your doctor.
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How Is A1c Calculated
A1C testing relies on hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen throughout your body. When you have glucose in your blood, it sticks to hemoglobin. This is called glycation. The more glucose is in your blood, the more it sticks. And it can stay there for around three months about how long the average red blood cell lives.
The A1C test measures the average amount of glucose thats been attached to hemoglobin over time. Because the A1C test measures glucose levels over a period of time, it provides more information about blood sugar than a single blood sugar test.
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When Would I Need An A1c Test
If you have diabetes, you should have an A1C test two or more times a year to see how well your management plan is working. Your healthcare team will recommend exactly how often you should get this test.
If you dont have a diabetes diagnosis, a healthcare provider may order an A1C test if you have symptoms of the condition, including:
- Lack of activity or exercise.
- Being over the age of 35.
Can A Virtual Assistant Help
Several studies have explored using technology to help people with a variety of conditions take their medication regularly. Past studies have looked at whether voice and text messages can help patients improve medication adherence. More recent work has focused on the use of virtual assistants to offer health advice to patients in a variety of situations.
Virtual assistants are app-based platforms that rely on a chatbot, or a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet. Patients can use the virtual assistant to access medical information, and the virtual assistant can remind users about medications and appointments, as well as assess their adherence. Virtual assistants have been used to support pregnant women and new mothers, as well as people with cancer, chronic pain, coronary heart disease, coronary artery disease, and breast cancer.
One recent study found that people with type 2 diabetes who used app-based mobile health interventions were able to improve their glucose management. Another study found that people with type 2 diabetes and depression who used a microelectronic monitoring device known as a Medication Event Monitoring System improved their adherence to both oral glucose-lowering medications and antidepressants. These studies show the potential for technology to help people with both diabetes and depression improve medication adherence.
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