doctor holding vial of blood, writing on clipboard

10 Things to Know about the A1C test

The A1C test is important to make sure your diabetes is properly managed. It is recommended that you take the A1C test twice a year, or more often if your levels are not in the target range.

  1. This important test for diabetics measures average blood sugar levels over the last two to three months.
  2. The A1C test lets you know if you are at risk of having any complications related to diabetes.
  3. You can use this calculator to convert your A1C to your estimated average blood glucose number.
  4. You don’t need to fast or change your medicine schedule before an A1C test.
  5. You can test your A1C on your own from a kit available at your local pharmacy.
  6. An A1C below 5.7% is considered normal.
  7. An A1C of 5.7% to 6.4% is in the prediabetes range.
  8. An A1C of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes.
  9. When being diagnosed with diabetes, you should take the test again on another day just to verify your results.
  10. Talk with your doctor about your target A1C if you have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends 7% target for adults, and 7.5 % for those 19 and younger. But A1C targets can vary from person to person; come up with a plan with your doctor.

When A1C can mislead

There are some times when the A1C test results can be less than accurate. Some situations when the A1C test can be misleading are:

  • Iron deficiency or anemia may cause your A1C result to be falsely high.
  • Blood loss may cause your A1C to be falsely low.
  • Sickle cell anemia may cause your A1C to be abnormal.
  • Kidney disease may cause your A1C to be falsely high or low.
  • Liver disease may cause your A1C to be falsely low.

Ways to lower A1C

Always stay on top of your diabetes to make sure your levels stay where they need to be. Monitor your blood sugar throughout the day. Pay attention to how you feel, and exercise 30 minutes a day. Eat smaller portions and natural foods as much as you can. Be sure to follow the plan that you, your doctor, and other professionals have created.