What is hemoglobin and A1C Test?
Hemoglobin (Hgb) is a protein in our red blood cell that carries an important component for our survival: oxygen to the rest of the body making hemoglobin an essential aspect of our blood. And this gives the blood its red color.
The hemoglobin A1C test conducted tells the average levels of blood sugar level for the last 3 months. People who suffer from diabetes are prescribed to undergo this test to see their range of blood sugar levels.
What does the A1C test mean?
The glucose in our blood sticks to protein or red blood cells to form hemoglobin A1C. These red blood cells are alive and function for 3 months before they die. Therefore, doctors recommend an A1C test to see how much sugar has been bounded for over the last 3 months. Haemoglobin AIC shows the sugar or glucose blood concentration. Higher sugar concentration, higher levels of A1C test, and low sugar concentration in the blood mean a low level of hemoglobin A1C test results.
Normal levels of hemoglobin
- If an individual is not suffering from diabetes, the normal Haemoglobin A1C test result should be 4% and 5.7%. Most labs depict levels between 4% to 5.9 % as normal for a healthy individual.
- If your results show levels of hemoglobin A1C between 5.7 % and 6.4 % it means you are at risk of developing diabetes.
- Levels showing 6.5 % or high means you have diabetes.
|Normal||4% to 5.7%|
|At risk||5.7 % to 6.4%|
|Diabetic||6.5% and above|
The correlation between hemoglobin A1C and corresponding blood sugar levels give the doctors a good idea if someone is at risk of developing diabetes or has false high elevated A1C levels or if someone is diabetic. Following is the table showing the A1C level and the corresponding average blood sugar level.
|A1C % level||Corresponding average blood sugar level (mg/dl)|
Factors Affecting High or Low Haemoglobin A1C Levels:
Many factors contribute to elevated or low levels of A1C in people:
Low level of A1C levels.
- Medical conditions such as anemia, sickle cell anemia, vitamin deficiency.
- Lung or heart disease.
- Chronic diseases such as heart problems or kidney problems.
- Medication (opioids).
- Nutritional deficiency (this usually includes iron deficiency and vitamin b12 deficiency and folate)
- Blood loss
- Kidney failure or kidney problems
High levels of hemoglobin:
A high level of hemoglobin A1C can be because of several factors such as:
- Uraemia is a kidney disease where blood causes a high level of urea this giving false elevated levels of hemoglobin.
- Certain long-term use of medications can also cause high levels of hemoglobin (opioids).
- High levels of triglycerides Thyroid diseases.
- Polycythaemia: a bone marrow disorder
To view the list of factors that may cause a high or low A1C result, please click here.
Setting your goal regarding the A1C test levels:
According to the American diabetes association, an A1C level below 7.0% is considered good control. At the same time, a goal of 6.5 % A1C level is recommended by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
According to the American diabetes association, if you reduce your hemoglobin A1C level by 1%, you would have decreased your molecular vascular complication by 10% even though you have not reached your goal.
To see information regarding your A1C level goal, please click here.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetic patients or people at the risk of diabetes as well as patients with the above-mentioned diseases and disorders should have their A1C levels check every 2.5 or 3 months. This will help them reach their goal easily. Once Patients have met their A1C level goal should then come for a check every 6 months.
For diabetic patients who want to minimize their type 1 or type 2 diabetes, following management can help them reduce their A1C levels thus lowing their blood sugar level as well.
- A good diet.
- Medications recommended by your doctor.
- A healthy lifestyle.
Important: a slightly higher or elevated A1C level can be controlled with a good plan and management.