In the past, only urine tests or blood sticks were used for the measurement of Diabetes. These results were based majorly on the daily sugar intake and it can vary based on the kind of food that is consumed. The hormones secreted in the body can also change on a day-to-day basis. Though the results are accurate, it is a one-time result. Find out more on the A1C levels For non diabetics.
Fortunately, this A1C test was designed and made available in the 1980s. One of the best advantages of this test is that it gives you the reading for about 2-3 months. This reading determines the average of your blood sugar. It is not affected by the day-to-day changes and this adds up to the accuracy of the test.
Nowadays, a lot of clinics are recommending the A1C test to find out about the blood sugar levels of a patient.
How Does The A1C measure?
The A1C test measures the hemoglobin in the blood. The hemoglobin is a protein substance that is found inside the red blood cells. It’s main responsibility is to carry oxygen to the body. Glucose is what the body identifies as energy. The glucose has a tendency to attach itself to the hemoglobin. Since the hemoglobin constantly dies and regenerates in a time period of 2-3 months, the glucose also dies along with the hemoglobin.
We measure the amount of glucose that is attached to the hemoglobin. If there is too much glucose attached, your A1C level will also be high. If the glucose attached is normal, your A1C level will also be normal.
Accuracy is very vital when it comes to diagnosing a patient. Though the A1C tests are becoming a popular source for people to get their blood sugar, one should be careful. The A1C generally shows a difference of half a percent higher or lower than the actual value.
For ex: If your A1C level is 7, then the actual percentage can range anywhere between 6.5 to 7.5. In some cases, the blood sugar test may show normal, whereas the A1C test may indicate diabetes. This may happen even vice versa. Hence before the treatment for Diabetes, the doctor should make sure of another test before taking a decision.
The Importance Of An A1C Test:
One of the main advantages is that the A1C calculates the average of the blood sugar. This means that it can help you understand how well your body is handling diabetes. Since it doesn’t depend on the daily intake of blood sugar, it helps doctors to a great extent.
The normal (FBS) Fasting Blood Sugar will vary if taken every day and calculating an average will be difficult. This A1C test will help the doctors in advising on the food that can be consumed to keep the sugar levels intact.
How Frequently Do You Require An A1C test?
Since the hemoglobin in the body die and regenerate in a period of 2-3 months, it is ideal for a person to get his or her blood tested every 3 months. This should continue until you are able to manage your sugar levels. Once it is in control, or if you are a non-diabetic, it is necessary that you get yourself tested at least in a time period of 6-12 months.
Here is table that will help you correspond your A1C levels with your Sugar levels:
|A1C Level||Average Sugar Level|
|5 percent||97 mg/dL (5.4 mmol/L)|
|6 percent||126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L)|
|7 percent||154 mg/dL (8.5 mmol/L)|
|8 percent||183 mg/dL (10.2 mmol/L)|
|9 percent||212 mg/dL (11.8 mmol/L)|
|10 percent||240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L)|
|11 percent||269 mg/dL (14.9 mmol/L)|
|12 percent||298 mg/dL (16.5 mmol/L)|
|13 percent||326 mg/dL (18.1 mmol/L)|
|14 percent||355 mg/dL (19.7 mmol/L)|
Limitations Of The Test
- In a case of depleted hemoglobin stores, you may experience severe bleeding. Due to this, your A1C levels will remain falsely low.
- If you have an iron- deficiency (anemia), your A1C results may be falsely high.
- If you have had any case of a recent blood transfusion or hemolytic anemia, the results of this test will not be accurate. The numbers will be falsely low.
- In general, most of the people have only one kind of hemoglobin called the Hemoglobin A. If you have an uncommon type of hemoglobin, the A1C test will appear either falsely low or high. This differs based on different ethnic groups.
Mostly African people, Mediterranean people or the Southeast Asian Heritage will have different types of hemoglobin called the Hemoglobin variant. In any case, if you have a different variant, you should visit a special lab that can conduct the A1C test for your hemoglobin.
What If Your A1C Levels Are High?
If you are in the early stages of diabetes or you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, then you can make slight lifestyle changes, which will change your sugar levels to a great deal.
If you do have diabetes, it is better that you make a lifestyle change and follow regular exercises and take a healthy diet. This will help improve your sugar levels or keep it in control.
This A1C test is slowly being regularized, to diagnose diabetes. In spite of taking the regular blood sugar test, it is always better to take the A1C test once in 3 months. This will be useful to understand the condition of your body and you can work towards a sugar-free life!