Why You Should Know Your A1C Number

Aug 16, 2023
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Your A1C number is vital to your health if you’re diabetic or prediabetic. Find out what it is, how it’s measured, and why it’s important for your health.

You probably know your height and weight and maybe a few other health statistics, such as your cholesterol levels, heart rate, and BMI. But, do you know your A1C number?

If you’re prediabetic, at risk of developing diabetes, or if you actually have diabetes, your A1C number — which measures your blood sugar levels over time — is one of the most important numbers you can know.

At Phillips Family Medical in DeSoto, Texas, Pamela Phillips, Ph.D., FNP-C, and her team specialize in helping patients manage diabetes. Here’s what they want you to know about your A1C number.

What is the A1C test?

The A1C hemoglobin test measures the average amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood over the past three months. The result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels have been.

The test is used to detect prediabetes, diagnose whether you actually have diabetes, and help you manage your blood sugar levels if you do have diabetes.

While target levels can vary based on your age and other factors, the goal for most adults with diabetes is an A1C under 7%. A normal range is under 5.7%, and if you’re from 5.7-6.5%, you may have prediabetes.

To perform the test, your provider takes a blood sample and sends it to a lab for analysis.

Your A1C number is different from your blood glucose level, which tells you your blood sugar level at one point in time. Your A1C number gives you an average over a period of time, which can be helpful to see trends and patterns.

Why do you need an A1C test?

Glucose in your blood comes mostly from carbohydrates you eat and drink. Glucose serves as your body’s main source of energy. If your A1C and blood glucose levels are consistently elevated, this can indicate you have diabetes. Diabetes develops because your body either doesn’t make enough insulin to manage your glucose levels, or your body isn’t able to use the insulin that is produced.

If you don’t yet have a diabetes diagnosis, your provider may order an A1C test if you have other symptoms of diabetes, such as excessive thirst, fatigue, increased urination, a family history of diabetes, or other risk factors.

If you do have diabetes, your provider will have you take an A1C test at least a couple of times a year to check on your diabetes management plan. Having high A1C levels means your diabetes is not under control. Depending on the results of the test, your treatment plan can be adjusted to be more effective. 

If you’re prediabetic, have a family history of diabetes, or need to manage your diabetic condition, you may need an A1C test. To get the help you need, call 972-861-1151 or book an appointment online with Phillips Family Medical today.