A1C is a blood test that is used to measure average blood glucose levels over a period of about 2-3 months. A1C, also known as glycated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C, is a type of hemoglobin that is formed when glucose in the bloodstream binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells. The higher the average blood glucose levels, the more A1C will be present in the bloodstream.
A1C is an important measure of glucose control because it provides a more accurate and long-term picture of glucose levels compared to a single blood glucose test. While blood glucose tests measure glucose levels at a single point in time, A1C provides an average of glucose levels over a period of several months, which can help identify patterns of glucose control over time.
A1C levels are reported as a percentage, with normal levels generally considered to be below 5.7%. A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% are considered prediabetes, and levels above 6.5% are indicative of diabetes. Higher A1C levels are associated with an increased risk of complications from diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, and kidney disease.
Regular A1C testing is an important part of diabetes management, as it can help identify trends in glucose control and guide treatment decisions. For individuals with diabetes, maintaining A1C levels below 7% can help reduce the risk of complications and improve overall health outcomes.
In summary, A1C is a blood test that provides an average measure of blood glucose levels over a period of several months. Regular A1C testing is an important part of diabetes management and can help guide treatment decisions to improve glucose control and reduce the risk of complications.