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Diabetes in a Nutshell

Woman looking through microscopeHemoglobin A1c Laboratory Test

The Hemoglobin A1c test is also called A1c for short. This blood test measures the average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. Hemoglobin (HEE-mo-glo-bin) is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the lungs and other body cells. The blood sugar joins to the hemoglobin in the blood. The test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of sugar in the blood.

Common Terms - American Diabetes Association

Previously, the A1c test result was given in a percentage only, making it difficult to understand how the percentage compared with blood sugar results in mg/dl or mmol/L. In 2008, the American Diabetes Association released an accurate and tested scale to report both the percentage result as well as the estimated average glucose (eAG) result in mg/dl or mmol/L. Now people can recognize their eAG in the same language for testing their blood sugar at home.

Critical Diabetes Test - A1C - Proven to be Accurate Average Glucose - American Diabetes Association

 

The higher the eAG is, the greater the risk for complications of diabetes due to uncontrolled blood sugar. An eAG over 154 mg/dl indicates the need to stop and consider the changes that are needed in meal planning, physical activity, and possibly medications.

 

To see how the A1c test is reported now, takea look below. The A1c on the left matches the eAG on the right.

A1c %

eAG mg/dl

Remember, the eAG is an average of the average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months. It measures every blood sugar level during that time, not just the average of the home testing results. It is important to understand that whatever the eAG is, half of the time the blood sugar has been higher, and half of the time it has been lower.

12

298

11.5

283

11

269

10.5

255

10

240

9.5

226

9

212

8.5

197

8

183

7.5

169

7

154

GOAL American Diabetes Association

6.5

140

GOAL American Association of       Clinical Endocrinologists

6

126

 

5.5

111

 

5

97

 


Diabetes in a Nutshell