If you have diabetes, you have to manage it properly. This is why everything to know about normal A1C blood sugar levels is such vital information. The A1C is a specialized blood test that shows how well you have maintained your sugar levels over the past quarter. Specifically, it looks at your hemoglobin.
Everything to Know About Normal A1C Blood Sugar Levels – Hemoglobin:
Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen through your body. If there is sugar in your blood, and it stays there for a while, it attaches itself to the red blood cells. The A1C measures the number of red blood cells with sugar attached to it. A 6% result, for instance, means that 6% of red blood cells have sugar on them.
Everything to Know About Normal A1C Blood Sugar Levels – Symptoms:
One of the scary things about having abnormal A1C readings is that it can be completely asymptomatic. Indeed, people can have diabetes for a long time without knowing it. However, there are a few symptoms that you will eventually start noticing, including:
- Having little energy after a meal
- Being thirsty all the time
- Urinating more frequently, usually even at night
- Itchy, dry skin
- Losing weight for no reason
- Being hungry and craving sugar
- Blurry vision
- Tingling in hands or feet
- Wounds not healing as quickly as usual
- Frequent infections
If your sugar level is high, it means energy is not being distributed properly. Essentially, sugars enter your bloodstream and are supposed to be used to provide you with energy. When that malfunctions, you can’t “go” either. Additionally, you pee out a lot of your sugars, which means you lose weight, increase infection risks, and become dehydrated. Ultimately, your body breaks down and you need to make serious lifestyle changes, and perhaps take medication, to improve on this.
Everything to Know About Normal A1C Blood Sugar Levels – Test Frequency:
Usually, the test is done between two and four times per year. Usually, other tests will be done at the same time. You can also order the test through your pharmacy and have it checked when you want to. That said, there is little point in doing the test so often, because red blood cells tend to live for 120 days, which means it will take three months to see a result.
Everything to Know About Normal A1C Blood Sugar Levels – What Should You Aim For?
You should aim to have A1C results that are as low as possible. Healthy 25 year olds with type 1 diabetes, for instance, can expect to have a 6% to 6.5% range. A 75 year old with type 2 diabetes, who has had a stroke and a heart attack, by contrast, can expect to aim to have a 7.5% to 8% reading. Many different factors are taken into consideration to set goal levels, therefore.
If you manage to hit your goal, then you have significantly reduced your chance of complications. It is also likely that you will then only have to do the A1C twice a year. However, if you’re struggling to reach your goals, they will check it more often.
Everything to Know About Normal A1C Blood Sugar Levels – Accuracy:
The NGSP (National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program) has determined the appropriate A1C levels. In the past, there were many different tests, which meant there were many different results as well. However, now that it is standardized, it is also far more accurate. A variance of 0.5% is expected and acceptable however.