What is the A1c test used for and what do the results mean.

The A1c test or diabetes test is used to determine how well your body is utilizing sugar over the last 2 to 3 months. It is also called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycated hemoglobin test.

For those who are either diabetic or have many of the risk factors for diabetes this test helps to give a picture of how well controlled or out of control your blood sugar levels have been.

How Does the A1c Test Actually Work

As we eat foods that have sugar in them your body converts that sugar from it’s original source into glucose. Glucose is the sugar that the body utilizes during metabolism. When glucose builds up in the blood stream more of the glucose attaches to the hemoglobin protein and is then moved around the body.

What does the A1c test results mean.

The hemoglobin protein is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen around the body. So if you are constantly dealing with high blood sugar then your ability to transport oxygen around your body is greatly decreased.

The test measures the amount of bound glucose to hemoglobin.

What About the Red Blood Cells?

Red blood cells flow through our blood system carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and CO2 from the body back to the lungs to be expelled. As stated early, the more sugar in your blood, the higher the amount of glucose that attaches to the hemoglobin molecule of the red blood cells. Red bloods cells are survive in the blood system for anywhere between 110 to 124 days before they are recycled from the system. This is why diabetics have their A1c tested regularly, usually every 90 days.

What Do the Test Results Mean?

A normal A1c result is under 5.6%. This means you are not diabetic. A result between 5.7% to 6.4% means that you are pre-diabetic. Other terms for pre-diabetic is syndrome X and metabolic syndrome. Now any test result over 6.5% means that you are diabetic or have diabetes.

The higher the test result the higher your risk of having complications related to diabetes. These include neuropathy of the legs, retinopathy (neuropathy of the eyes) leading to blindness, kidney damage that could lead to dialysis, hearing loss, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

3 Easy Ways to Help Lower Blood Sugar and A1c Results

  1. Reduce and work towards eliminating easy sources of sugars such as breads, cereals, pasta, candy, and soda.
  2. Increase the use of healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, and fish oil.
  3. Start supplementing with cinnamon. A 2017 study showed that taking 3 grams of capsulated cinnamon lowered A1c, blood glucose levels, and BMI over 16 weeks when compared to placebo (1).

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28606084

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