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Hemoglobin - A1c 6.0
An A1c of 6 indicates that you have pre-diabetes.
A1C tests measure the percentage of a red blood cell protein in your body called hemoglobin is coated with sugar. Doctors use it to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
It gives you your average blood sugar level for the past three to four months because red blood cells live for about four months.
After diagnosis, doctors use the A1C test to measure how well a person is managing their diabetes.
The A1C test is also known as the glycated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin, estimated glucose average, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C, Hb1C and HbA1C.
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 your hemoglobin is coated with glucose. Hemoglobin is a protein found in your blood. Doctors use A1C scores to determine whether a person has diabetes. If more than a certain percentage of your hemoglobin is coated with glucose, it means that the insulin hormone in your body isn’t properly removing the 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, a 6 percent A1C level is equal to an eAG score of 126 mg/dL or 7 mmol/L estimated average glucose score.
What Does An A1C of 6.0 Mean?
An A1C of 6.0 means that you have prediabetes, which puts you at risk for developing diabetes. View the full A1C range chart to see how a A1C score of 6.0 compares.
A score of 6.0 doesn’t mean that you will get diabetes. Instead, you should focus on reducing your A1C score and improving your overall health.
What is a good A1C level? What is a normal A1C score?
A score below 5.7 is normal for someone who does not have diabetes. That means that less than 5.7 percent of the body’s hemoglobin is coated with sugar. This is the level you should be working for in order to diminish the likelihood that you will develop type 2 diabetes.
For people who do have diabetes, 7 percent is a common goal for people going through treatment for diabetes. A score under 7 percent is good for someone who has diabetes.
What is a prediabetic A1C?
A prediabetic A1C score falls between 5.7 and 6.5 percent. Your score of 5.7 falls into that range. This score doesn’t mean that you will get diabetes. Instead, you should focus on reducing your A1C score and improving your overall health.
What is prediabetes?
People with prediabetes have a higher percentage of their hemoglobin coated with glucose than normal. It is very likely that people with prediabetes get type 2 diabetes within 10 years unless they make serious changes to their lifestyles.
There are changes that you can make to your diet and exercise habits that can reduce the percentage of your hemoglobin coated with glucose, like reducing calories or doing mild exercise 30 minutes per day.
If your A1C score indicates that you have prediabetes, you should get your A1C score tested every year to see if you’re working in the right direction.
Normally, glucose fuels your cells and your muscles, but when you have prediabetes, your body is not processing glucose the way it should be. Instead, the glucose accumulates in your blood and makes it hard for your blood to pump through your body.
What is a bad A1C score?
A score that is higher than 6.5 percent indicates that you have diabetes. Physicians will test your A1C score on two separate days before giving you a diagnosis.
A score of 8 percent is common for people who have had diabetes for a long time but haven’t taken action to treat it. If you reach this score, you should immediately begin working on reducing the percentage of hemoglobin in your bloodstream through both medical and nonmedical channels, as nonmedical strategies are not enough.
A 9 percent A1C score can be dangerous. At this point, your blood has been considerably thickened by the glucose, and your heart has to work harder to carry your thick blood to and from your heart. Your blood is supposed to be thin so that it can easily travel through your blood vessels.
As your A1C level increases above 10 percent, you’ll be at serious risk of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart attack and more.
How Often Should You Check Your A1C Score?
People who have prediabetes should check your A1C score once a year. Checking your score once a year will help you monitor whether you’re doing better or worse. That can impact your behavior toward your condition. For example, if your eating and exercise habits have improved your A1C score over the past year, you know that you should continue. If they haven’t helped, you’ll know that you need to be doing more to prevent type 2 diabetes.
What to do if your a1c score is 6.0
Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, there is no cure. Your diabetes can go into remission, but it can always come back and it is always something you will need to monitor.
When you have prediabetes, it means you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. There are things you can do to prevent it. However, it is important for you to know that these need to be permanent changes to your lifestyle. Should you slip back into your old ways, your risk for developing type 2 diabetes will increase again.
To reduce your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to change the way you eat, how often you workout and how much stress you have in your life.
Studies have correlated weight loss with decreased A1C scores.
The Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School recommends that you follow a calorie-restricted diet. The center suggests limiting your calories to somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day.
It is also beneficial to reduce the quantity of sugary foods you eat. The more sugary foods you eat, the harder the insulin in your body has to work to remove the glucose from your bloodstream. You should avoid refined carbohydrates, like sodas, juices and desserts, which are high in sugar.
Mild exercise can make your cells more sensitive to insulin hormones, which makes it easier for the insulin to remove glucose from your blood. The more effective your insulin hormones are, the less likely you are to have diabetes. Additionally, your muscles use up glucose as energy when you exercise.
When you’re stressed, your body wants to ensure that sugar and energy are readily available to fuel you, therefore, your insulin level falls. Additionally, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissue to be less sensitive to insulin. Both of those changes cause glucose to be more available in the bloodstream. These effects last 6-8 hours and cause your blood sugar to be difficult to control.
Studies show that vitamins, like Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium, reduce insulin resistance and can help you control your blood sugar. Check your multivitamin to make sure you’re getting enough of these in your diet.
A1c 6 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.
You shouldn’t drink alcohol if you have high A1C test results. Sugary mixed drinks will raise your blood sugar. The alcohol can affect your liver’s ability to produce sugar and cause low blood sugar. More so, alcohol doesn’t mix well with most medications, including diabetes medications. If alcohol is truly important to your lifestyle, consult with a doctor about how often and how much alcohol you can. The doctor may switch you to a medication that isn’t strongly affected by alcohol.
A1C scores can be used to monitor women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The A1C test is different for pregnant women than for most people. Red blood cells do not live as long in the body of a pregnant woman as they do in a not-pregnant woman. Red blood cells live only a few weeks in pregnant women as opposed to a few months in other people.
However, A1C tests are not often used for diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy, which is called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Instead, doctors use something called an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which gives them information about how well your body processes the sugar in foods.
High A1C scores during the first three months of pregnancy can indicate a higher chance of a spontaneous abortion or birth defects for women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For pregnant women, it is best to keep an A1C score below 6 percent.
Studies indicate that when high blood glucose is treated aggressively and early on, treatment can quickly lower A1C levels in pregnant women. Treating high blood sugar can stop negative ramifications for pregnant women and their baby’s health.
If your considering becoming pregnant, you’re more likely to get GDM if you:
- Are older 25.
- Are overweight before becoming pregnant.
- Have prediabetes.
- Have a close family member who has or had type 2 diabetes.
- Have had GDM during a past pregnancy.
- Have delivered larger than normal children in the past.
- Are black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian.
Developing GDM can cause complications for your baby. It could cause your baby to grow larger than they’re supposed to and require C-section for birth. Your baby could have low blood sugar after birth because his or her insulin production was high while in the womb. After normal feedings and possibly other intervention methods, your baby’s blood sugar should return to normal. Your baby would also have a higher risk of becoming obese or developing type 2 diabetes throughout his or her life. If you develop GDM, follow treatment precisely. Untreated GDM could cause a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.
GDM can affect you too. Mothers that develop GDM can suffer from preeclampsia and subsequent gestational diabetes. When you have preeclampsia, you can experience high blood pressure and swelling in your legs and feet. It also causes there to be extra protein in your urine. Additionally, once you have GDM, you’re more likely to develop it in subsequent pregnancies and your more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.