What are A1c Levels?

A1c levels give an indication of your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. Elevated blood sugar levels are a hallmark of diabetes, and A1c levels can identify patients who are at high risk for diabetes.

Usually, in the absence of diabetes, the normal A1c level is under 5.7 percent, meaning less than 5.7 percent of the sampled red blood cells have glucose attached to their hemoglobin molecules (e.g. glycosylated hemoglobin). The amount of glucose that is attached to hemoglobin is directly proportional to the total amount of glucose circulating in the blood.

The A1c level in a person with untreated diabetes may be as high as 10 percent or more. At A1c levels between 5.7 and 6.4 individuals are at increased risk for diabetes according to the ADA.

It is important to discuss management of your A1c levels with your doctor or nurse practitioner. A nutritionist may also be able to suggest changes in diet to help manage A1c levels, especially a nutritionist with a diabetes certification.