The A1C is a blood test that tells you what your average blood glucose levels have been for the past 2 to 3 months. It measures how much glucose is attached to your red blood cells. Because you are always making new red blood cells to replace old ones, your A1C changes over time as your blood glucose levels change.
How often should I have an A1C?
Usually your doctor will measure your A1C at least twice a year. If your medication is changing or you are making other changes in how you take care of yourself, you may have it checked more often.
What is the suggested target for the A1C?
The ADA’s target for A1C for most adults is less than 7%. Your doctor may recommend a higher or lower target depending on how old you are and other factors. The closer you get to your target, the better your chances of preventing or delaying problems from diabetes that can develop over time. Studies have shown that for every one point decrease in A1C levels, you reduce your risk of long-term diabetes complications by up to 40 percent.
What does my A1C result mean?
Usually your A1C will reflect the general trends you see with your day-to-day blood glucose checks. Sometimes, your A1C result may seem higher or lower than you expected.
That may be because your blood glucose levels are a certain level at the time you’re checking it, but at other times your levels may be very high or very low. If your A1C is dierent from what you expect, talk to your doctor. You may need to check more often or use a continuous glucose monitor to get a better idea of how your blood glucose is changing throughout the day.
Do I still need to check my blood glucose with a meter if I get the A1C test regularly?
Both kinds of checking are important. You’ll use your meter results to make dayto- day decisions. The A1C gives you an overall idea of what’s going on.
Content courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.