What Your A1C Number Means

Diabetes has become one of the most widely discussed medical conditions in both the medical community and the media. The high prevalence rate of diabetes type II is especially alarming, given that it normally takes several years of unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle before the insulin resistance â€" the main factor characterizing this subtype of diabetes - reaches critical levels. However, all types of diabetes have the same thing in common, which the elevated level of glucose in the bloodstream. Furthermore, the blood sugar level has to be routinely measured to ensure the diabetes is being properly controlled, and will not pose a direct and immediate risk to the affected individual. One of the most commonly performed tests is the hemoglobin A1c test, (also known as the HBA1C test) which can be used during the initial diagnosis of diabetes, as well as to monitor the patient's response to the condition after the diagnosis. This test will give you your A1C levels which you can then monitor on an A1C chart.

While this particular test is often referred to as the A1c test, or sometimes the blood glucose a1c, and this acronym actually refers to the specific type of hemoglobin found in the red blood cells - known as the A1c glycated hemoglobin â€" that can be measured for the purpose of estimating the average level of glucose in the bloodstream, this measurement being known as the hemoglobin A1C level. The glycated hemoglobin is not created automatically when the patient's blood sugar becomes elevated, but only when the hemoglobin itself actually comes into contact with the plasma glucose. As the level of sugar in the bloodstream increases, so will the production of glycated hemoglobin. Therefore, the test can be very accurate in terms of providing an average level of glucose in the patient's bloodstream, over longer periods of time, typically on the order of several weeks. Additionally, the test can also be used for the purpose of initial diagnosis of diabetes, as the elevated levels of glycated hemoglobin will usually be easily noticeable during measurement.

The measurement obtained during an A1C test will typically reflect the percentage of patient's total hemoglobin that has become glycated. The higher this observed percentage is, the higher will the average level of blood sugar in the bloodstream be. However, before examining the healthy ranges for this test's results, it is important to recognize that â€" given the particular measurement method â€" the specific value obtained will have a wide margin of error. For example, the level of glycated hemoglobin may stay the same from one measurement to the next, but the percentage estimated may vary due to fluctuating levels of total hemoglobin, which may occur during pregnancy, or after any blood donations.

Typically, individuals not affected by any type of diabetes will have an average A1C level between 4% and 6%. A diagnosis of diabetes will typically be considered only if the results show a glycated hemoglobin percentage being higher than 6.5%. Additionally, the higher the percentage measured is, the higher will the possibility of developing diabetes-related complications be. Individuals affected by type II diabetes are recommended to ensure that their A1C percentage is lower than 7%. This test will primarily be used to ensure the patient's diabetes and thus their sugar levels are under control and being managed over longer periods of time. The A1C test will not provide or directly match the result obtained during the individual's daily blood sugar tests, and another testing method will be necessary for daily readings.

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