Things to know about blood sugar levels and the A1C test

Things to know about blood sugar levels and the A1C test

Doctors use blood sugar level charts (A1C Levels) to determine a person’s A1C test outcome. This test helps measure a patient’s average blood glucose or blood sugar levels over the previous three months. The chart shows whether the person has prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or type 1 diabetes. Based on the A1C Levels seen in the test, the doctors can prescribe the best treatment options for an individual.

Keep reading to learn more about the test and blood sugar levels.

How an A1C chart looks
The chart comprises three sections: levels, A1C percentage, and Estimated Average Glucose (EAG). The blood sugar levels are considered normal if the A1C rate is below 5.7%, and EAG is under 117 mg/dL and 6.5 mmol/L. If the A1C percentage is anywhere between 5.7 and 6.4%, with EAG being 117-137 mg/dL and 6.5-7.6mmol/L, one is be considered prediabetic.

For a person to have diabetes, the A1C percentage has to range from over 6.4% to 10.0%, with EAG from over 137 mg/dL to 240 mg/dL and over 7.6 mmol/L to 13.4 mmol/L. One should also keep in mind that the higher the A1C percentage and EAG are, the higher the possibility of complications due to diabetes.

How the test works
When an A1C test is taken, it finds the ratio of the red blood cells with hemoglobin coated with glucose. The numbers indicate the average blood sugar levels over two to three months. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells, and it contains iron. The job of hemoglobin is to bring oxygen from the lungs to the other tissues. Glucose binds to hemoglobin once it enters the blood, leading to higher blood sugar levels. The levels increase as more glucose binds with hemoglobin in the bloodstream.

The A1C tests are simple procedures performed by a professional healthcare provider. They collect a blood sample, and it is then tested in a lab. A doctor will check the test results to determine if one is prediabetic or already has diabetes. The test results also help determine how a diabetic person’s treatment goes by monitoring their blood sugar levels.

If the blood sugar levels are high, the doctor might prescribe insulin. In addition, the patient can monitor the levels on their own by using a blood sugar meter to keep an eye on their progress. However, they will still need to visit their doctor periodically to undergo A1C testing if the doctor thinks it’s necessary.

When to take the test
The Blood Sugar Level Charts (A1C Levels) determine how often one should opt for the A1C test. Even if one does not have diabetes, the doctor might prescribe the test if one is over 45 or has risk factors associated with high blood sugar levels. If the examination reveals that the individual has diabetes, the doctor will regularly determine if they need the test. If the blood sugar levels are not too high or the treatment goes well, the doctor may suggest taking the A1C test twice per year. On the other hand, they might require the test more frequently if the blood sugar levels are high or cannot be managed easily.

Targeted blood sugar levels
Once the doctor knows an individual’s blood sugar levels from the A1C chart, they can suggest a blood sugar level target. For a person with diabetes, this target depends on multiple factors. The most prominent ones are their treatment priorities and preferences, diabetes-related complications, history of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar levels, other adverse effects due to previous treatments, currently prescribed treatment plan, how long the patient had diabetes, pregnancy, general health, and their age.

The doctor will probably suggest a target blood sugar level of below 6.5% if they are in good health other than diabetes and managing the blood sugar levels well by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, the doctor may suggest a target blood sugar level between 7.0 and 8.5%.

The doctor will also ask the patient to maintain blood sugar levels between 7.0 and 8.5% if they have a diabetes-related complication and have had severe hypoglycemia due to the treatment.

Please keep in mind that the blood sugar levels might change over time. So, the doctor will regularly check the blood sugar level charts (A1C Levels) to determine if the target blood sugar levels need to be changed accordingly. Maintaining a healthy A1C target is the key to leading a healthy life with diabetes.

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