Normal A1C blood glucose levels indicate diabetes management plan on the right track.

Diabetes management involves regular monitoring of the blood glucose levels as well as ensuring that the levels are within the normal range. Keeping glucose levels normal may be possible with diet, exercises and medication. There are different tests that can be taken to monitor your diabetes or blood glucose levels regularly. There are tests like fasting blood glucose, postprandial test, random test that can be done. These tests give you the results for levels when sample is taken. Doctors may sometimes advice you take the A1C test. This test does not give the results for the time the sample was taken but tests it for a longer period. This enables doctors to find whether you have been in control of your glucose levels. Normal A1C blood glucose levels indicate whether you have been able to manage your diabetes as per the plan and if the measures are proving to be useful.

What is A1C – glycated hemoglobin?
The sugar in the body usually sticks to the proteins in the body. If it is around for a long time due to high glucose concentration it would be even harder to get it off. There are red blood cells which have the protein hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the body. The red blood cells have a life span of about three months. The sugar in the body sticks to these cells, the percentage of which is found out with the A1C test. Thus it gives us an idea of how much sugar has been around in the previous two to three months.

Normal A1C blood glucose levels

The general reference range for this test is about 4% to 5.9%. There may be some difference in the results of one laboratory when compared results obtained from another. The results are analyzed considering age of subject and biological variation amongst individuals. The American Diabetes Association recommends the normal range as less than 7%. Levels above 8.0% indicate you are unable to control blood glucose levels. Levels less than 7.0% are considered well controlled. However, there are some groups like the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists who recommend a goal of less than 6.5%. This is because 6% would be a mean blood sugar of 135mg/dL for the last three months. Similarly, 7% or more would be a mean of more than 170mg/dL, which is why they feel that less than 6.5% should be ok. The benefit of A1C is it gives a reasonable view of how well you have controlled glucose levels in the past 3 months.

There are few things to remember. Though the results may show good HbA1C for a patient there may have been times when the blood glucose levels may have been very high or low. Therefore doctors’ advice you to ensure that glucose levels do not go down drastically as that may cause a hypoglycemic condition. It is equally dangerous as hyperglycemia and leaving either condition untreated may cause substantial damage to the body. Thus regular monitoring is still the best method for analysis of your health.

A1C is no doubt a useful measure of overall glucose control. But it cannot replace self-testing of blood glucose. There may be slight difference in the lab results. However, there are efforts to have the A1C test same everywhere and an international effort to standardize it. If you are within the normal A1C blood glucose levels it is a good indicator of your efforts to control diabetes.

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