You need hemoglobin A1C or simply A1C test to know if you are properly managing your blood sugar levels. Diabetes is an incurable disease due to extreme elevation in a person's blood sugar levels. The A1C test measures the average amount of sugar in the blood for the past three months. Findings of elevated average blood sugar mean that you have poor sugar control. Among all blood sugar tests, most health care providers consider the hemoglobin A1C test as the best test in diagnosing diabetes.
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Specifically, the A1C test measures sugar that attaches to the hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen carrying component of the red blood cells. The process of glucose or sugar attaching to hemoglobin is called glycosylation. Sugar permanently attaches itself to the hemoglobin of red blood cells during its entire lifespan of 120 days. When more sugar is present in the bloodstream, the more sugar sticks to hemoglobin. Findings are usually interpreted in terms of percentage.
A result of 5% is considered normal, since all people have some sugar attached to the hemoglobin in their red blood cells. But diabetics can have as high as 25% in their A1C test, suggesting that they are not effectively managing their blood sugar levels. Most of the time, the goal of diabetes management is to achieve an A1C test result of below 7%. Findings of 8% and above suggests that your diabetes management is still not enough and you may need some lifestyle changes for better blood sugar control.
A1C test is very important, especially for those patients already suffering from diabetes. According to experts, maintaining 7% and below in the A1C test can delay or possibly prevent the onset of diabetic complications like kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy, and neuropathy. The study also suggested that reducing percentage levels in the A1C test increases the person's chances of being healthy. On the other hand, a slight increase in the A1C levels even up to 8% greatly increases the risk for the patient to develop the diabetes-related-complications.
The hemoglobin A1C test is done by extracting a small blood sample which is being sent to the laboratory for testing. For diabetics, it should be done at least twice a year. The test may be prescribed more often if your blood sugar is consistently high or if your doctor has made changes in your treatment plan to evaluate effects. However, even if you are regularly having A1C tests doesn't mean that you don't have to do your daily blood sugar. You can achieve better blood sugar management if you are doing the A1C test together with your daily glucometer testing.
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