Blood sugar testing at home is a crucial and significant tool to manage the blood sugar levels on a regular basis. However, it can only provide a snapshot of the present state of health without offering any long-term information. That is why many endocrinologists these days occasionally recommend a blood test that would measure blood sugar levels in course of two to three months. This is termed as the diabetes A1C levels chart. The diabetes A1C levels chart offers a precise picture of how well the diabetes management plan is working.
Opting for the diabetes A1C levels chart
In case the diabetes levels are under control and the blood sugar level is stable, the American Diabetes Association recommends that the patient must take the test at least twice a year. It is a simple process of drawing the blood and can be done at the doctor’s office. This test result helps in determining whether the diabetes is optimally controlled. Your expert may want to run the test as often as after every three months when your A1C levels are not within the desired range.
What does the chart mean?
The A1C levels chart helps in measuring the glucose or blood sugar present in the blood by evaluating the level of glycated hemoglobin. It is important to understand that hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells, and whenever glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, it tends to bind or glycate the hemoglobin. The more the glucose, the higher would be the amount of glycated hemoglobin. According to experts, having A1C levels lower than 5.7 percent is considered normal while the same lying between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is a condition of pre-diabetes. When this level rises over 6.5 percent, it is considered to be type 2 diabetes. For individuals affected by type 2 diabetes, the primary aim is to lower down the A1C levels to the desired percentage.
It is important to understand that the goal of the diabetes A1C levels chart is specific to individual health conditions. Lots of factors play a crucial role in determining it including the age of the patient, how advanced the disease is and other health conditions of the patient. Typically, doctors recommend having the diabetes A1C level below 7 percent to enjoy good health. Furthermore, if you can succeed to maintain it at the correct level, you can free yourself from the risk of complications including damage of nerves, feet pain, eye problems, and a host of other microvascular complications.
Which factors can affect the diabetes A1C levels chart?
There are several factors that can alter the diabetes A1C levels chart such as fasting, usage of insulin, oral glucose intake, or a combination of these factors. The normal range of hemoglobin typically lies between 4 and 5.9 percent; in well-controlled diabetic patients, the A1C levels are less than 7 percent. The advantages of measuring hemoglobin A1C is that it offers a reasonable view of the blood sugar levels in course of three months. The hemoglobin A1C value never bounces up or down like daily blood sugar tests.
Studies have shown that there is about 10 percent decrease in the associated risks of microvascular complications for every 1 percent decrease in hemoglobin A1C levels. This means that if a person with diabetes has an initial A1C level of 10.7 that later drops to 8.2, he has succeeded in reducing the risk of microvascular complications by around 20 percent. The closer the diabetes A1C level to the normal, the lesser is the risk of developing micro-vascular complications.
What are the limitations of the diabetes A1C levels chart?
It is important to note that the effectiveness of the results of the diabetes A1C levels chart may prove to be limited in certain circumstances. For instance, in case you experience chronic or heavy bleeding, the hemoglobin stores are bound to run out. This can invariably make the A1C levels falsely low. In case of anemic patients or patients with a low iron count, the results of A1C tests could be falsely high. Most people are born with only hemoglobin A, and among people with uncommon variants of hemoglobin, the A1C levels test may be falsely high or low.
Hemoglobin variants are most commonly found among people from the Mediterranean and South East Asia. In case of people with a different hemoglobin variant, the diabetes A1C levels chart has to be performed at a specialized lab for getting accurate results. If a person has recently undergone a blood transfusion or is suffering from any type of hemolytic anemia, the A1C levels can be very low and may fail to offer accurate results.
Furthermore, keep in mind that the normal range of diabetes A1C levels chart can vary to some extent among different laboratories. And your doctor would help in interpreting the A1C test results by considering these possible variations.