Prediabetes A1C Test Range
What is the A1C test?
The A1C test is also referred to as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test. It is a simple blood test for measuring your average blood glucose levels over the previous three months. It is one of the widely used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, and it's also the major test to help you and your medical care team handle your diabetes. Greater A1C levels are linked to diabetes complications, so reaching and maintaining your personal A1C goal is essential when you have diabetes.
Who needs an A1C test and when?
Test for diabetes or prediabetes:
Get a baseline A1C test if you are an adult over age 45. You should also get it if you are under 45 years of age, but are overweight, and have one or more risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes:
If your outcome is normal, but you are over 45, have risk factors, or have had gestational diabetes, replicate the A1C test every three years.
If your outcome shows, you have prediabetes, speak with your doctor about taking action to lower your type 2 diabetes risk and improve your health. You should repeat the A1C test as often as your doctor recommends, usually every 1 to 2 decades.
If you don't have symptoms, but your outcome shows you have prediabetes or diabetes, get another test on another day to confirm the result. If your test results show you have diabetes, ask your doctor to refer you to diabetes self-management instruction, and encourage services so that you can have the best start in managing your diabetes.
What does the A1C test measure?
When glucose enters your bloodstream, it attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Everyone has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but individuals with higher blood glucose levels have more. The A1C test measures the proportion of your red blood cells, which have sugar-coated hemoglobin.
What is the A1C level if one is Prediabetic?
In prediabetes (also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance), your blood glucose is greater than normal, but lower than that considered in diabetes. Your doctor may advise that you have prediabetes under these conditions:
A1C (Glycated hemoglobin) of 5.7 to 6.4%.
Your physician may order an A1C test if she suspects that you have prediabetes or diabetes. This event can occur if you have risk factors, such as being overweight or obese, being an older adult, being physically inactive, or with a family history of diabetes. You need to have your A1C tested every three years if you had gestational diabetes while pregnant.
Another reason why your physician might want to have an A1C test to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes would be to confirm the results of a previous A1C test that came back. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests obtaining another test on another day before diagnosing prediabetes or diabetes.
You can even use the A1C test to grow your blood glucose testing routine at home as you track diabetes. While the blood sugar test only shows what your sugar is at the moment, the A1C test gives an average over the previous three months. An A1C test could confirm the low or high blood glucose values you've quantified in your home, or it might demonstrate that those values haven't been showing the entire picture. You should be tested once a year when you have prediabetes.
How to Take an A1C Test
The A1C test is simple to take. You may take it in the laboratory to get your normal blood tests, such as cholesterol and blood glucose. You may choose the A1C test at any time of the day. Although it's always preferable to be well-hydrated once you receive your blood drawn, you don't have to make any specific preparations for the A1C test. You don't need to fast, forget the caffeine, or refrain from exercising. The results should come how you always get your test results, like directly to you or by your physician.
Signs of high A1C levels
The indications of high A1C are just like those of high blood sugar. You're unlikely to detect any signs or symptoms when you have prediabetes or A1C between 5.7 and 6.4%. You're more likely to have symptoms if your A1C is over 6.5percent and sets you in the diabetic range. You might have excessive thirst combined with an increased need to urinate or sudden weight loss. Some individuals experience blurred vision and tingling or pain in the feet and hands from diabetic neuropathy. If you think you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. They could show that your blood glucose is uncontrolled and that you're at risk for diabetes complications.
1. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes —2019. Diabetes Care. 2019; doi:10.2337/dc19-Sint01.
2. AskMayoExpert. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2018.
3. Insulin resistance and prediabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance.
4. Kliegman RM, et al. Diabetes mellitus in children. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
5. Andes LJ, et al. Prevalence of prediabetes among adolescents and young adults in the United States, 2005-2016. JAMA Pediatrics. 2019; doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4498.
6. Walls RM, et al., eds. Diabetes mellitus and disorders of glucose homeostasis. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com.
7. Edwards CM, et al. Prediabetes — A worldwide epidemic. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2016.06.007.
8. Robertson RP. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
9. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition..
10. Laffel L, et al. Management of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
11. Khokhar A, et al. Metformin use in children and adolescents with prediabetes. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2017; doi:10.1016/j.pcl.2017.08.010.
12. Natural medicines in the clinical management of diabetes. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com.