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Hemoglobin A1C test

Hemoglobin A1C testA test that helps with diabetes control by showing what the average blood sugar, or glucose, has been for the past 2 to 3 months. The test measures how much sugar is attached to the hemoglobin. If a person has had a lot of sugar in their blood and their blood sugar level has been high for the past two to three months, their A1C level will be high. In other words, this test is very helpful for a person with diabetes and his or her health care team to see how good their diabetes control has been.

In most laboratories, the normal A1C range is 4-5.9%.  In poorly controlled diabetes, its 8.0% or above, and in well controlled patients it’s less than 7.0%.  The benefit of measuring A1C is that it gives a better idea of what has been happening to the blood sugar over a period of 3 previous months, and the laboratory result does not change as much as finger stick blood sugar results.

An A1C of more than 7%, which is about the same as a blood sugar of 170 mg/dl, is a warning that the diabetes is out of control and there may be an increased risk of complications.  Therefore, it’s very important to have an A1C target of less than 7%.  The following table shows what the mean blood sugar level is at different A1C levels.

Hemoglobin A1C(%)                           Blood Sugar (mg/dl)

6                                                      135

7                                                      170

8                                                      205

9                                                      240

10                                                    275

11                                                    310

12                                                    345