Hemoglobin A1C. What is it and why is this test every 3 months important with diabetics of all types ? I am writing this article to explain the test, and why it is critical for all diabetics to have this component of their blood measured?
Your blood sugar testing that you do at home every day is important as a part of your diabetes control plan. The goal for all diabetics is to keep their sugars from 70-120 as much as possible before meals, and no more than 140 2 hours after a meal. Your blood sugar meter should make as close to accurate assessments as possible. Your daily blood sugar tests give you clues as to how to plan your meals and make adjustments with your doctor day in and day out.
Blood sugar however, flucuates widely a lot of times that your are not aware of. This is where the reading of the hemoglobin A1C comes in.
What is hemoglobin A1C? Simply put, think of sugar that is sticking. When it sticks for a long time, it is more difficult to get it off. In the diabetic's body, glucose sticks too, especially in proteins. The red blood cells will circulate in your body on an average of 3 months before they die. When glucose ticks around on these cells, it gives an estimate of how much sugar is hanging around for the past 3 month period. Labs are all different in their methods of performing this test, but the average normal rate is 4.5 to 5.9. If a person with diabetes is having poorly controlled sugar levels, then this level is well above range from 6.0 or much higher.
There is a definite pattern between A1C levels and average blood sugar levels.
An A1C of 5 percent usually means your average blood sugar is around 125; a percentage of 6 puts you around the 135 target; with a 7 percent level of A1C or more, your averaging out at least 170 or better, which is too high and needs to be brought under control.
It is recommended by ADA that you keep your percentage of A1C below 7 to avoid complications. Many diabetic studies have shown that an A1C kept as close to normal as possible avoid serious complications. In other words, the higher the percentage number, the greater risk for many problems related to diabetes.
The doctor being diligent about performing the A1C is helping their patients by motivating them to stick with their care plan as carefully as possible to avoid terrible medical problems in the end related to diabetes.