There is more than one way of assessing blood sugars. Besides the regular fasting and instant blood checks, there is also the more comprehensive A1c check.
“A1c” differs from other sugar blood tests in that it measures blood sugar over the span of three months instead of at a certain point of time. As a result, A1c is a more comprehensive form of assessing blood sugars and Mastering Diabetes – How to lower your A1c Levels: Best Practices.
In spite of its ability to read a comparatively long-term blood sugar, A1c fails to record other vital information like any specific increases or decreases as a result of a diabetes management plan. It can also not read levels of hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar management and A1c
Since a1c measures sugar over a span of time, it can be used to monitor how a blood sugar management plan is working. Your doctor can assess how your plan is working, whether you are following it or not as well as what changes may be needed in the plan.
Another important benefit of A1c tests is that they can alert doctors concerning the risk that may develop due to high levels of blood sugar over a long period of time. Having low a1c levels signify good health and good diabetes management.
How a1c is measured
A1c is estimated in a lab via routine blood work. Sometimes a countertop machine may also be used but that is rare.
The estimate is made by assessing the sugars that are attached to red blood cells. The results are then reported in the form of a percentage of the entire hemoglobin in the blood. Constantly high blood glucose leads to red blood cells getting coated with sugar, a process that takes about 3 months to resolve. Hence the estimate of sugar is that of 3 months.
Normal a1c levels are below 5.7%. A number higher than that indicates pre-diabetic stage up to 6.5 %. At and above 6.5% means the patient has diabetes.
Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes must strive to keep their blood sugar values in check. Ideally, for diabetic patients, any point lesser than 6.5% is a great success. Your doctor may set a different goal for you based on your condition.
Even though a1c levels can be inaccurate, the current use of technology and standard setting has made a1c a great indicator of blood sugar levels for Mastering Diabetes – How to lower your A1c Levels: Best Practices.