This morning while sipping on my morning coffee scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a video by the American Diabetic Association that featured one of my favorite singers Tim McGraw. Tim is currently working with the ADA on a new diabetes awareness program called “America’s Diabetes Challenge.”
In this video Tim presented a simple question about Type 2 diabetes, “what is A1C?” I found some of the responses fascinating. Let’s take a look at the video and see what you think.
After watching this video I decided to post a blog about A1C to help those of us who may be hearing the term A1C for the first time understand what it is and what it indicates.
As Tim explained in the video, Hemoglobin A1c, often referred to as your A1c, is a 3-month average of your blood glucose levels. The result is often shown as a percentage. It’s a simple indicator that helps your healthcare professional determine how well your diabetes is being managed. Most health care providers check it every 6 months making sure your A1C level is as close to your target level as possible. If necessary, they will work with you to set a new target level.
Normal HbA1c is 5% or less. Your goal should be to keep this number below 7%. By maintaining A1c levels below 7% you can lower the risk of getting kidney, eye, and nerve problems. Any value above 7% indicates poor diabetes management.
Importance of A1C in Diabetes Management
As a person managing diabetes, you are constantly being reminded to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and test glucose levels frequently. But, how do you know your efforts are paying off? Well, there are 3 tests directly affected by good glucose control, diet, and exercise. These 3 tests are:
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Blood Pressure
Knowing your numbers and how they are trending will help determine just how well you’re doing. A1C, being one of the three test results you must track, plays a critical role in diabetes management. Having this test done regularly will help determine whether your blood sugar levels have been staying within a target range.
A1C results can also be used to determine another useful indicator called eAG – estimated average glucose. eAG and A1c indicate the same thing in two different values. A1C shows your 3-month average glucose as a percentage while eAG shows the same measure as a unit(mg/dl). The eAG unit is useful in understanding glucose levels because it’s similar to the glucose readings delivered by the self monitoring glucose meter kits that people use at home.
* The information presented in this article is not meant for medical advice and is only meant for general information. Please always consult your health provider before changing your medical treatment plan.