It’s not any hidden fact that I am the wife of a Type 1 diabetic. My husband was diagnosed when he was 23, so he’s sported the diabetic dog tags for about 20 years now (you can do the math so don’t tell him I told you, and instead remind him of how ravishingly handsome he looks!)
I was pretty clueless about all terminology related to being diabetic or being the partner of someone with diabetes. I used to feel that it wasn’t in my realm of capabilities to NEED to understand it, but I was proven wrong early on into our relationship.
One of the areas I had to school myself on, was the lovely term “A1C.” I became a Diabetes Education Paraprofessional Level 1 this year, and it’s my duty to school YOU now!
It may have taken Gary about 15 times of explaining it to me to understand, so that’s why I wanted to write a post that made it simple and easy to understand. Think of this as your “Cliff’s Notes” version of “What the heck is an A1C?”
What the heck does A1C mean?
The A1C test is a blood test that gives 411 about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, a.k.a. blood sugar, over the course of the past 3 months. Sometimes it can be called a “hemoglobin A1c,” “HbA1c,” or “glycohemoglobin test.” The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. The cool thing is, someone doesn’t have to be fasting and blood can be drawn at any time to get initial results.
What the heck does it do?
The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Red blood cells are always regenerating, but usually live for around 3 months. AHA! So, this test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The higher the percentage, the higher someone’s blood sugar levels are to determine diabetes risk or diagnosis.
While Type 1 and 2 diabetes are very different, they both used this same test to determine someone’s A1C. Testing is super important because early in the disease, diabetes has NO symptoms. NONE. Isn’t that scary? So, it’s important for regular bloodworm to include an A1C result so that someone’s doctor can take necessary action if and when needed. I just had my yearly physical for baseline bloodwork and my A1C was 5.4.
Results can be categorized into these ranges:
*Any testing to make a clear diagnosis of diabetes Type 1 or 2 has to be run through a secondary test first.Diagnosis*
A1C Level Percentage
Normal below 5.7 percent
Diabetes 6.5 percent or above
Prediabetes 5.7 to 6.4 percent
I am always one to say that working on your fitness can also involve working with your doc!
Be sure you get bloodwork done regularly to stay in front of the 8 ball and not behind it, friends!