The A1C test evaluates blood glucose (sugar) levels of a diabetic person for the last 3 months to provide a general view of if the glucose levels are under control or not. This test is also known as the HbA1C test. It differs from the everyday glucose monitoring that diabetics do daily; the daily tests are designed to verify one’s blood glucose level during the time of the test. By using the A1C test to evaluate a person’s averages of blood glucose over a period of time, the doctor can see a better picture about how well the treatment for diabetes is working.
What the A1C test shows
It is important for diabetics to try and maintain their blood glucose levels within certain limits to prevent complications such as damage to their blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Daily blood sugar level monitoring is very important for diabetics. The A1C test is made to help to normalize the blood sugar levels over a 3 month period, because the red blood cells only live for about 3 months. The A1C test measures the glycated hemoglobin percentage or excessive glucose which connects with the hemoglobin inside of the red blood cells. With higher glucose levels in the blood on a daily basis, the test percentage of the A1C test will also be higher.
The A1C test has a lot of benefits for diabetics to monitor long term blood glucose levels. However, the test has some drawbacks as well.
A1C test benefits
The A1C test benefits us in finding the self-testing results are correct or not.
The A1C test confirms if the treatment is working or requires modification. If the A1C result isn’t around your target, you can adjust the treatment accordingly.
The test confirms that the patient is taking good care of his/her diabetes.
The A1C test helps us to adhere to a healthy lifestyle to keep the numbers within a normal level. This way diabetes can be prevented or delayed.
A1C test drawbacks
The A1C drawbacks are that the test not a replacement for the daily blood glucose checks, and that different labs and different machines may calibrate the blood sample differently. It is important that you take this into consideration, if your numbers come up slightly higher or lower than normal. The labs report will indicate what the normal and abnormal levels are, which may be different than previous tests, if done by a different machine.
Even if you do the A1C test every 3 months, regular home tests for blood glucose levels cannot be avoided. Regular checking is required for instant treatment for glucose level alteration.
After every 120 days the old cells of the blood are replaced with new blood cells; therefore the A1C test is designed to evaluate the glucose levels in a 120 day period. Many medical professionals advocate that diabetic patients should get the A1C test at least twice per year. A non-diabetic person’s A1C test results should be around 5 percent. The percentage indicated the amount of glycated hemoglobin in the body.
An A1C below 7 percent is measured as a good blood glucose condition for diabetics. The goal for a pregnant woman with diabetes would be to have an A1C of about 6 percent. Keeping the blood sugar levels down can help to reduce the complications of diabetes which include nerve damage, eye disease and kidney disease.
Benefits and drawbacks of the A1C test