A1C Testing for Diabetics
An A1C Test is a test that measures blood glucose over a period of time to get an average number. The period of time is usually over a few months. The numbers provided by the A1C test have been interpreted differently by various medical organizations. The A1C normal range for a person who does not have diabetes is 5%. However, the experts do not agree on the same test results for someone who has diabetes. For a diabetic patient, the A1C normal range would be a more conservative number. It would either be equal to or fall below 6.5%.
Regarding the A1C goals, some experts say that they should be individualized while others insist that they should be standardized. The doctor could help a patient individualize the goals to begin treatment. Individualizing is a good tool because it motivates the patient to work through a small goal achievement process. But given the dangers associated with the condition, there must be a time when the patient needs to revert to the standard. The associated risks for not meeting the standard limit should be communicated to the patients very clearly by their doctor. When an average reading over a period of time is given as 150 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), this figure is translated to provide an A1C result of 7%. This exceeds the normal range. Usually, when the reading is 126 mg/dL, this is considered to be diabetic. This gives an A1C result of 5.88%
In order to appreciate the A1C test, the patient needs to understand how it operates.
- Oxygen is carried throughout the body by hemoglobin A, which is a protein in the red blood cells. The danger caused by blood glucose is that when it clings to the hemoglobin, it prevents it from performing its function of carrying oxygen all over the body. A high glucose level in your blood indicates that a good percentage of hemoglobin is not performing its function.
- By the time the glucose clings onto the hemoglobin, it has been in the body for a period of approximately three months. The bad news is that by sticking onto the hemoglobin, the glucose prevents the hemoglobin from performing its function for the rest of its lifespan. The glucose will stay stuck to the hemoglobin for the entire time.
- An A1C test result of 8% means that this percentage of hemoglobin protein is not playing its role of distributing the oxygen throughout the entire body.
- It is recommended that if you are diabetic, you need to take an A1C test at least once every three months. This will also depend on the stability of your sugar levels and any changes in your treatment plan. Your doctor is the best person to advise you on this test.
- The A1C test is a simple test performed by the doctor using a small sample of the patient’s blood.
However, the A1C test has not gone without criticism. It is not standardized and is sometimes not completely reliable. There are cases when the red blood cells survive longer or lesser than anticipated. In this case, the A1C test results will be misleading. Taking the A1C test every three months should not replace regular home testing by the patient.
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