Stay Ahead of Diabetes with an A1C Test
Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing conditions in the U.S., but there’s still a lot of misinformation around it. An A1C test can help you understand your risk for diabetes and how to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.
What is an A1C Test?
To you, an A1C test will be just like any other blood test. Your provider will take a blood sample from your arm, or sometimes just prick your finger for a small drop of blood. This will let them look at your average blood sugar over the last two to three months.
What they’ll look at specifically is a protein called hemoglobin. Usually, hemoglobin helps your red blood cells carry oxygen through your bloodstream. But if your body isn’t regulating sugar like normal, your hemoglobin can get coated in sugar. That’s a sign something may be amiss.
You’ll get your A1C results as a percentage — the higher the percentage, the more sugar your hemoglobin is carrying and higher your average blood sugar has been recently.
- An A1C of less than 5.7% is considered healthy.
- An A1C between 5.7% and 6.4% may be a sign of prediabetes.
- An A1C of 6.5% or higher may be a sign of diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Like the name suggests, prediabetes is a condition that sometimes gets diagnosed in people with high blood sugar. If left unchecked, it can develop into type 2 diabetes — but that’s not inevitable. With some changes to your routine, you might be able to slow down the onset of diabetes or even prevent it altogether.
If you get diagnosed with prediabetes, your provider will want to talk about your lifestyle. What kind of foods are you eating on a regular basis? How much activity do you get? Do you get the chance to work out often?
Again, prediabetes doesn’t always mean you’ll become diabetic. What it does mean is that you’ll need to start managing your blood sugar through diet and exercise. Your primary care provider will help make a plan to keep your blood sugar on the right path.
If you’re concerned about your blood sugar or think you might have diabetes, ask your primary care provider about getting an A1C test. Don't have a primary care doctor? Use our Find A Doc tool to read patient reviews, watch interviews, and select an exceptional doctor who fits your unique needs.
It's easy to start a conversation with your doctor. Begin by taking a health risk assessment. Then, discuss your results with your primary care doctor.