What's in the article
Hemoglobin - A1c 6.1
An A1c of 6.1 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 6.1 Mean?
An A1C of 6.1 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 6.1 compares.
A score of 6.1 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 6.1 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 6.1
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 6.1 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.
At the moment, you cannot cure your diabetes. You can cause your type 2 diabetes to go into remission, which would mean you don’t have any signs or symptoms of diabetes, but you would still have diabetes.
There are three forms of remission that your body can have: partial remission, complete remission and prolonged remission.
When you have partial remission, it means your blood glucose level or A1C score has been similar to that of a person who has prediabetes rather than diabetes for at least a year, and you haven’t been taking any medication to cause that. When your body is in complete remission, your blood glucose levels and your A1C score are normal. During complete remission, you’re not taking any medication, and tests seem to indicate that you don’t have diabetes for at least one year. Prolonged remission is the same as complete remission, but it has lasted longer. Prolonged remission lasts for a minimum of 5 years.
People who have experienced remission typically follow strict diets and personalized exercise routines.
The Department of Transportation doesn’t have diabetes regulations for personal drivers licenses; however, the department does regulate commercial driver’s licenses. Part of the DoT’s Physical Qualifications and Examinations, people who have diabetes are not physically qualified to have a commercial driver’s license. Therefore, drivers must submit an exemption form through the Federal Diabetes Exemption Program in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license if they have diabetes.
Other commercial drivers with diabetes who take insulin must apply for an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These exemptions are good for a maximum of two years. The administration requires that people with exemptions go through quarterly and annual medical monitoring and reporting in order to maintain the exemption from the Federal diabetes standard.
Insulin users must also participate in diabetes education programs every year to continue to participate in the exemption program. They must also be evaluated by a board-certified or board-eligible Endocrinologist to confirm that no medical problems related to diabetes will impair safe driving. These examinations are valid for 6 months and must be renewed if expired during the application process, which is relevant because the application can take up to 180 days to process.
People with A1C scores that are greater than 10 are not eligible for the exemption and cannot get a commercial driver’s license.
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, a calorie-restricted diet can lower your A1C score. It is recommended that you restrict your diet to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories.
Your recent actions have a stronger impact on your A1C score than your actions further in the past. However, all actions from the last 3-4 months will have some type of effect on your A1C percentage score. Consider purchasing a blood glucose monitor to keep track of how your body reacts to changes on a daily basis and make modifications accordingly.
For example, test your body’s carb tolerance by checking your blood sugar before you eat, tracking your carbs in that meal and then testing your blood sugar every hour after. You want to hit your original number by hour three; otherwise, you need to reduce your calorie intake.
Ideally, your blood sugar will not go up more than 30 points after the meal. Your blood glucose should never be higher than 140, but you should aim for 120 or lower. If your blood glucose level is higher than 140 at any point, you should reduce your calorie intake.
A person with type 2 diabetes can lower their A1C score by losing 5 or 10 percent of body weight. One method is to avoid refined carbohydrates, which are high in sugar and calories. Reducing consumption of refined carbohydrates, like sodas, juices and desserts, can help you reduce your calorie intake, which helps you lose weight. Additionally, you’ll be reducing the amount of glucose your body has to manage.
You might also try to lower your weight by doing mild exercise, which has added benefits. Mild exercise increases insulin sensitivity in your cells, making it easier for the insulin to remove glucose from your blood. Also, your muscles use up glucose when you exercise, which can lower your blood sugar levels.
Vitamins, like Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium reduce your insulin resistance. Talk to a doctor or a nutritionist to learn about what proportions of each will be best for your body.
You should avoid stressful situations. When you’re stressed, your insulin levels fall to ensure that your body has sugar and energy readily available to fuel you. Additionally, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissue to be less sensitive to insulin. Both of these effects last 6-8 hours and cause glucose to be more potent in the bloodstream.
If your score is higher than when you last checked, try to pinpoint what caused the change. In the last 3-4 months, have you experienced stressful events, poor exercise habits, poor eating and mess-ups with medication? These can all cause increased A1C levels. Once you understand what caused your A1C score to increase, you can figure out how to avoid what caused it to rise in the first place and begin decreasing the percentage of glucose in your hemoglobin.