Assessing how controlled is your diabetes: hba1c range
Being diabetic there are a lot more complex things to handle other than your blood sugar. One of the thing that I dreaded most was the complex medical terminologies that were going above my head.
After having communicated with different diabetics around I felt that majority of the people have no idea about diabetes taxonomy and yes, there were people who just want to stay ignorant.
Try to study your disease in depth, it will not only save you from future complications but help you take right step in its proper management. In this blog, I will make an effort to introduce you with such terminologies in as simple way as possible.
One of the terms you may hear during your diagnosis is HBA1C.
So what is this HBA1C range?
Does it indicate anything about my diabetes management?
How to find my HBA1C range?
What number is the best bet to avoid complications in future?
We all try to find answers in this article.
What is hba1c range?
HBA1C refers to glycated hemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is a protein present in Red Blood Cells of our blood and is responsible to carry oxygen to different parts of our body.
When we eat food, the glucose present in it get dissolved in the blood and join hemoglobin. If the amount of glucose present in blood is large, more number of hemoglobin gets glycated and because of that, you will have high HBA1C numbers.
So, HBA1c range gives you the idea of your average blood sugar for a period of 2-3 months. If you are diabetic and want to know how you managed your condition for the past 2-3 months, then you should go for the HBA1C test.
But how it’s possible to get data for past 2-3 months by a simple test?
It’s possible because the glycated hemoglobin survives for 12-14 weeks before renewing itself, so checking that hemoglobin gets you access to past blood sugar data.
If you think about it, you will appreciate the advancement of medical science that made it possible to find deep secrets of our body and find methods for disease management and diagnosis.
I test my blood sugar regularly with my glucometer, how it’s different from HbA1C?
Glucometer gives your blood sugar data of that particular time only, while HbA1c gives AVERAGE blood sugar data for 3 months.
Click here to read about blood sugar number that diabetic should target
How can test my hba1c range?
HbA1C test is similar to your blood test where a blood is drawn from your body for analysis. Usually, one has to go to near diagnostic lab and they will draw your blood sample from your arms.
Now with modern technology, a small drop of blood can be used to find HbA1C range; meters are available now to do it in your home.
What hba1c number should I target to avoid any complications in Future?
Different experts target different values; however, the major laboratories that test our levels often say that the normal range is 4.0 to 6.0.
1. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial or DCCT, said that 6.0 was a normal level.
2. But the other key study, the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study or UKPDS, which compared conventional and intensive therapy in more than 5,000 newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes, said that 6.2 is the normal level.
3. Dr Richard Bernstein recommends ranges from 4.2 percent to 4.6 percent
you can buy Richard Bernstein’s Diabetes Management book from Amazon by clicking here
An organization that analyzes blood sample of the nondiabetic population found their HbA1c in the range of 4.5 to 6. From here, we can conclude that it’s better to keep you HbA1C level below 6 to ward away risk of diabetic complications in the future.
Type 1 diabetic while targeting these ranges have to be careful about the Hypo conditions. You should properly calibrate your insulin dosage as per your changing diabetes management practice; this may be a bit of challenge for you but is possible with focused dedication (that’s why ADA has kept the goal of 7% to reduce the risk)
Read about Type 1 diabetic in detail by clicking this link
I have got my HbA1C numbers in Percentage. Can I find my average blood glucose number?
HbA1c is expressed as a percentage (DCCT unit) or as a value in mmol/mol (IFCC unit).
Sure, you can convert the numbers; The American Association of Diabetes Glucose Trials has come up with a new and improved equation to relate A1c to mean glucose:
It is the A1C-Derived Average Glucose (ADAG) formula:
Measured in MMOL/L: Average Glucose = 1.583 * A1c – 2.52
Measured in mg/dl: Average Glucose = (1.583 * A1c – 2.52)*18.05
Using this formula:
4% = 69 mg/dl
5% = 97 mg/dl
6% = 126 mg/dl
7% = 155 mg/dl
8% = 182 mg/dl
9% = 211 mg/dl
10% = 239 mg/dl
In short, 1% of A1c equates to a difference in mean glucose of 29 mg/dl.
Click here to find if you are type 1 or type 2
How often should we do this test?
As HbA1c numbers give average blood glucose data for past 2-3 months, the ADA advises doing this test at-least twice a year.
However, in a research it was found that the HbA1C test is far from being perfect, the data is not average per se but is more skewed to the last month. The research says that ““The plasma glucose in the preceding 1 month determines 50% of the HbA1C, whereas days 60 to 120 determine only 25%,”
So we must say that the HbA1C data is more skewed towards the measurement of preceding month only and the test should ideally be taken every month.
you can buy a HBA1C test kit from Amazon by clicking this link
Why shouldn’t we rely on HBA1C number only?
As I said, HBA1C gives you average blood sugar data for 3 months. The average number gives you only half of the picture.
Suppose you did the test and you got 6% as a result. On the surface the numbers are great and your doctor would be happy too.
But as these are average numbers, you may have no idea about small sugar spikes which you had after your meal. Let me illustrate this point with the hypothetical example:
Suppose you ate high carb lunch and compensate it with your insulin dose. But there is always a scope of error in insulin dose calculation and this error may spike your blood sugar for a small duration.
These repeated spikes in the long term may cause you diabetic complications even though your current HbA1c numbers are great.
you can buy insulin storing kit from Amazon by clicking this link
So should i avoid taking the HBA1C test?
No, I am not saying that. Getting your HbaA1c number will give you a good understanding of your diabetes management, but it should be complemented with regular blood sugar test.
Check your blood sugar every 1.5 hours after your meal to understand if the food is spiking your blood sugar or not. The goal is not to allow your blood sugar to spike above 140 mg/dl at any point of the day.
You can attain this goal by regular testing and develop an understanding that which food is compatible with your body and doesn’t spike your sugar level.
you can buy good quality glucometer from Amazon by clicking here
With time you will get all the knowledge of the food that you can eat and the items that you should avoid; and after this, you may reduce your frequency of finger pricking.
Read article about how to avoid diabetic complications
Being diabetic, our goal should be to avoid complication and life close to normal. We are lucky to live in an era, where modern technologies have helped us making the disease management easier.
Sure, we have our own challenges but I think the phase through which diabetics have gone made us stronger and separate us from rest of the people.
Click to find how I reduce my HBA1c range from 12.9 to 5.5