A1C levels are a good indicator for measuring the average amount of sugar in your blood. Monitoring the A1C levels can be really helpful for diabetic patients to improve their treatment and gain better understanding of how well they control their diabetes.
What are A1C levels?
A lot of people refer to A1C levels but what does that really stand for? According to Wikipedia: A1C is actually glycated hemoglobin (glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, A1C, or Hb1c; sometimes also HbA1c). This is a form of hemoglobin which is measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time. It is formed in a non-enzymatic glycation pathway by hemoglobin’s exposure to plasma glucose. Normal levels of glucose produce a normal amount of glycated hemoglobin. As the average amount of plasma glucose increases, the fraction of glycated hemoglobin increases in a predictable way. This serves as a marker for average blood glucose levels over the previous months prior to the measurement.
How to measure A1C levels?
Measuring your A1C levels is rather easy. You need a blood glucose meter with which you measure the A1C levels in your blood. Then you need to convert the percentage of A1C of your average blood glucose control over the course of two to three months of diabetes management to mg/dl (or mmol/dl if you live in Europe).
|A1C level (%)||mg/dl||mmol/l|
In the first column there is the level of A1C as a percent of total hemoglobin, in the second column there is the glucose level in milligrams per deciliter and in the third column there is milimoles per liter. Average of the daily blood sugar (glucose level in miligrams per deciliter) should be based on readings taken before and after meals and at bedtime.
What is the normal level of A1C hemoglobin in your blood?
The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes acknowledges that if the level of A1c is higher than 6.5%, this is another criterion for the diagnosis of diabetes. Ideal level of A1c is about 5% (100 mg/dl). Much higher or much lower levels of A1c can be very dangerous to your health and can cause severe damage or even death. If you have a high A1C level, you should consult your physician immediately to set a diagnose and together you should decide what to change in your treatment to make it better.
Why is is so important to have steady A1C levels?
If the blood sugar level in your blood is normal, it helps you to feel better. In comparison if the level of blood glucose fluctuates, this can have harmful effect on a number of organs in your body, such as heart and kidneys. If the sugar levels are too high, this can slow down the flow of blood and can even prevent the sufficient amount of blood is delivered to some of the tissues which in the end can harm them.
There are some special conditions where the levels may fluctuate and when you may not be able to take in every medication that you would be allowed otherwise. Most common of those is pregnancy and it is very important that you monitor all the levels regularly and consult with your doctor.
How can you lower your A1C levels?
If your levels are high, you should try to lower your A1C levels. There is a lot written about this issue on the web and we will be dedicating another article to this theme, but here we’ll just list the two most useful ways for that. A healthy diet and reasonable exercise. Regarding the diet, you should do well to choose low calorie beverages over the normal ones and hold that thought in everything you eat – try to cut down on the calories you insert into your body. As for the exercise, if you do it regularly and moderately, it will help you in a lot of areas, from your heart to potential weight problems, which directly influence the A1C levels and diabetes.
If you are a diabetic, you should measure your A1c levels regularly. Once you get used to it it’s not that much of a hassle, but it can literally save your life. Extreme values can be very dangerous but if you keep a close look to it, you can keep it your A1C levels under control.