Updated: November 28, 2017
HbA1c is also referred to as hemoglobin A1c or simply A1c. The HbA1C is a blood test done to determine how well your diabetes management plan is working.
HbA1c refers to glycated hemoglobin which develops when hemoglobin joins with glucose in the blood, becoming glycated. We can get an overall picture of what our average blood sugar levels have been over a period of months by measuring glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications in diabetic.
The amount of glucose that combines with hemoglobin is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in your system at that time. Hemoglobin is a protein within red blood cells. Before renewal of the red blood cells in the body they survive for 8 to 12 weeks. Therefore during this period, measuring glycated hemoglobin (or HbA1c) can be used to reflect average blood glucose levels over that duration.
The HbA1c target for people with diabetes is 6.5%. A healthy person will have HbA1c below 6.0% where as a prediabetic will have it in the range of 6.0 to 6.4. HbA1c of 6.5% and more will indicate that you are diabetic. Fasting glucose tests provide an indication of your current glucose levels only, whereas the HbA1c test indicates an overall of what your average levels are over a period of 2-3 months.
The HbA1C test results provide an idea of how your treatment plan is working, and how it might be modified to better control the condition. If your HbA1C is not within your target range, the test should be done every three months to monitor the range.
A healthy lifestyle is the key to achieve the HbA1c target. Following the below tips can help you improve your blood sugar management on daily basis and lower your A1C:
Regular exercise will help lowering your blood glucose level. Aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking can be included as a part of your physical activity for 30-45 minutes per day.
The important thing in managing diabetes through your diet is to eat regularly small meals with intervals and include starchy carbohydrates as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. You can reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar in your diet, and increasing the amount of fibre. You can and enjoy a wide range of foods and have a varied diet as long as you eat regularly and make healthy choices.If your diet is well balanced, you should be able to achieve a good level of health and maintain a healthy weight.
Skipping meals, too much intervals between meals or eating too much or too often can cause your blood sugar levels to fall and rise too much. You can discuss with your doctor to help you determine the best meal schedule for your lifestyle.
Successful management of diabetes can be achieved by following your treatment plan as the plan is individualized.
You should check your blood sugar as often as required as instructed by your doctor to keep a monitor of your blood sugar level.
Because blood glucose levels fluctuate constantly, regular blood glucose testing is required to understand how your levels are changing through the day and learning how different meals affect your glucose levels.
This will help you manage your sugar level by adjusting your treatment plan.
An important part of your overall diabetes management is to understand your HbA1c and lower it as required.
For people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, even 1% improvement in HbA1c will cuts the risk of microvascular complications (Retinopathy, Diabetic nephropathy and Neuropathy) by 25%. Lowering HbA1c level also helps to reduce other complications of diabetes such as cataracts, heart failure and amputation or death due to peripheral vascular disease.