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Hemoglobin - A1c 10.3
An A1c of 10.3 indicates that you have diabetes.
The A1C test is used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. After diagnosis, it’s used to measure how well a person is managing their diabetes. The test is also known as the glycated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, estimated glucose average, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C, Hb1C and HbA1C.
A1C tests measure the percentage of hemoglobin in your body that is coated with sugar. Hemoglobin is a red blood cell protein.
The test gives you your average blood sugar level for the past three to four months because red blood cells live for about four months.
This is superior to other blood glucose tests because it isn’t strongly influenced by how long ago you ate or what you ate recently, unlike the typical blood tests done at home. Instead, the test gives a better indication of your current health based on information from a longer period of time.
Additionally, people who are taking the test do not have to do anything special to prepare for it. Just stay hydrated and go about your day as usual before the test. It’s important to note, if you’re taking other tests at the same time, the doctor may still ask you to fast before coming in.
What Does Your A1C Number Mean?
Your A1C score tells you what percentage of a protein in your blood called hemoglobin is coated in glucose.
High A1C scores are correlated with diabetes. A higher A1C level indicates that you have poor blood sugar control and that you’re at risk for diabetes complications. That’s because the higher the percentage of your hemoglobin that is coated with glucose, the poorer job your insulin hormone is doing of removing glucose from your blood.
Blood sugar is typically measured in milligrams per deciliter or millimoles per liter. To understand what your A1C score would look like if it were on your daily blood glucose monitor, compare your score to this chart:
Converting Your A1C Score into Your Estimated Average Glucose Score
|A1C Score (percentage)||eAG (in mg/dL)||eAG (in mmol/L)|
For example, an A1C score of 10 is equal to an eAG score of 240 mg/dL or 13.4 mmol/L.
What Does an A1C of 10.3 mean?
An A1C of 10.3 means that you have diabetes, and the you’ve entered dangerous levels and need immediate & drastic medical attention. An 10.3 A1C score puts you at serious risk of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart attack and more. View the full A1C range chart to see how a A1C score of 10.3 compares.
Additionally, taking action now on your diet, stress and exercise will not only prevent your score from getting worse, but it can also reduce your score.
Is a1c 10.3 bad?
Having 10.3 percent of your hemoglobin coated in glucose can be dangerous. If you’ve tested with an A1C score of 10.3, you should not attempt to remedy your blood glucose levels independently. At this point, the glucose that has attached to your hemoglobin has thickened your blood considerably. Your blood is supposed to be thin so that it can travel through your blood vessels. Your heart has to put in extra effort to carry this thick blood to and from your heart.
As your A1C level increases further, you’ll be at serious risk of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart attack and more.
Additionally, when your A1C level is greater than 10, the Department of Transportation (DoT) no longer allows you to have a commercial driver’s license. If your score is higher than 10 percent, seek immediate medical care.
What is a good A1C level? What is a normal A1C score?
People who have diabetes often aim for an A1C score of 7 percent. It’s a good percentage to aim for. If you can sustain this score, you are less likely to experience complications down the line.
How Often Should You Check Your A1C Score?
Check your A1C score twice a year if you don’t take insulin and your blood sugar level is consistently in target range. Check your A1C score four times a year if you use insulin to manage your diabetes and your blood sugar level is not consistently within the target range.
Checking your A1C score frequently can help you determine if the actions you are taking to treat your diabetes are working.
A1c 10.3 Questions
If you have prediabetes (i.e. an A1C score between 5.7 and 6.5 percent) you should check your A1C score once a year.
For people who have type 2 diabetes, check your A1C score twice a year if you don’t take insulin and your blood sugar level is consistently in target range, or check your A1C score four times a year if you use insulin to manage your diabetes and your blood sugar level is not consistently within the target range.
A1C scores are accurate up to .5%, so if you’ve scored a 6.89 percent, your actual score can be anywhere between 6.39 percent and a 7.39 percent. This is why doctors will test your A1C score twice before diagnosing you with diabetes – they want to make sure the reading is accurate.
There are a few common reasons why your A1C score will have errors or misreadings.
- A1C tests for patients who experience chronic bleeding may yield a false low.
- A1C tests for patients who have iron deficiency anemia may yield a false high.
- If your body produces a form of hemoglobin variant different than the normal hemoglobin A, your test can be inaccurate. This is more likely for people of African, Southeast Asian or Mediterranean descent. An example of hemoglobin variant is present in people with sickle cell disease, which changes the lifespan of red blood cells.
- Patients who are going through hemodialysis might have false lows because the processes may be filtering the glucose out of the patient’s bloodstream.
- Patients who have had a recent blood loss due to surgery or a heavy menstrual cycle may experience a false low.
- Liver disease, sickle cell anemia and kidney failure can cause your reading to be inaccurate.
Additionally, your A1C percentage can be off by as much as half a percent based on the margin of error. While that might mean the difference between being diabetic and prediabetic, if you’re a half a percentage away from developing diabetes or prediabetes, you should make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your score.
You can reduce your A1C score without medication, but you should consult with a doctor to ensure that is the best course of action for you. After you talk to a doctor, he or she may recommend that medication is the best option for you. Nonetheless, your doctor will also recommend non-medicinal ways to lower your A1C score, like modifying your diet, participating in mild exercise and reducing stress.
You can reduce your A1C score through restricting your calories to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day. It’s generally safe to start by cutting 500 calories out of your diet per day. About 50 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, a third should come from fat and a fourth should come from protein.
You should also moderate your carb intake. You can test out what the right amount of carbs is for you by using a blood glucose monitor. Through this process:
- Test your blood glucose before you start eating.
- Enjoy a delicious meal and record what you eat in a food journal.
- An hour after eating, test your blood glucose level. Is it above 140? If your blood glucose is above 140, you ate too many carbohydrates in your meal. You should reduce them in a meal tomorrow and follow these steps again. If your score is below 140:
- Test your blood glucose two hours after eating. Has your blood glucose returned to the level it was at before you ate? If it has this is a good amount of carbohydrates for you to eat in a meal. If not:
- Test your blood glucose three hours after eating. Has your blood glucose returned to the level it was at before you ate? If it has this is a good amount of carbohydrates for you to eat in a meal. If not, you should reduce the carbs in your meal tomorrow and follow this process again.
You can also do blood glucose tests to see how your body reacts to some foods versus others. Consuming soda, juices, desserts and other refined carbohydrates will negatively affect your diet. After your testing, you can figure out which foods have the smallest impact on your blood glucose level? Those are the foods you should be eating in your diet!
Mild exercise causes your muscles to use up glucose, which can lower your blood glucose levels. Additionally, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin hormones. That makes it a lot easier for insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream.
These steps will also help you lose weight. For people who have type 2 diabetes, losing 5 or 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your A1C score. People who have higher A1C scores will see more profound changes to their scores as they lose weight than people who have lower A1C scores, but on average people’s A1C scores drop by 0.1% for every 2.2 pounds they lose. That’s not necessarily because the weight was causing the diabetes but because the actions you take to lose the weight help reduce your blood glucose level.
Lastly, avoid stressful situations. Stress causes the body to reduce insulin levels and increase levels of growth hormone and cortisol. Your body wants you to have more glucose in your body to give you energy and help you cope with the stress. The growth hormone and the cortisol cause your body tissue to be less sensitive to insulin – the opposite effect as exercise. These effects can last for 6-8 hours. During that time your insulin will not be removing glucose from your blood, which will make it difficult for you to control your blood sugar.
There are home tests that you can purchase at your local pharmacy. They typically cost about half of what a hospital test costs and use a smaller amount of blood. Many at home kits have been cleared by the FDA and meet the standards of the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program for measuring A1C. There are multiple brands available like CVS, Walgreens and others.
What you eat and how much you weigh are influential contributing factors to diabetes. Seeing a nutritionist and following their advice can help lower your A1C score. A registered nutritionist can help you plan out your meals and when you eat them to ensure that you are giving your body the energy it needs while working to reduce the amount of sugars that you eat.
Some nutritionists have even undergone exams to become certified diabetes educators, meaning they are experts in teaching people about diabetes.
You should not use a nutritionist as a substitute for a doctor. You should always consult with and follow the advice of your doctor first.