Hemoglobin A1c test - checking your blood sugar level
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Most people who have diabetes already know what I am talking about in this post.
But it is important to know that a large percentage of the people who are pre-diabetic or diabetic have no idea and this can be very dangerous to your health. Especially people who are normal weight and quite active and fit don't think they could have diabetes.
But I was one of them and am still working to lower my blood sugar levels with a low-carb diet after eating a little too much fruit this past summer.
Diabetes brings with it the risk of many serious health problems including heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy (nerve damage) and obesity. When caught early enough all the symptoms of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are reversible and health can be restored through a low-carbohydrate diet. The person will always be carbohydrate-intolerant but can stay healthy without medication or insulin.
The Hemoglobin A1c test can be done in any doctor's office or you can buy a test kit for under $10.00 in places like Walmart and many drug stores.
This test is different from daily blood sugar testing. It gives a long-term picture of average blood sugar levels by measuring how much glucose is attached to the hemoglobin in your blood. There are a few cases where the A1c test will not produce accurate results (for instance people who do not have normal Hemoglobin levels) but in most cases A1c results are very helpful, especially for people who are not diabetic but may be in the pre-diabetic range and not on medication.
The normal levels for this test are 5.6 and below, pre-diabetic is 5.7-6.4 and anything above that is considered diabetic. The pre-diabetic range was picked because at this level there is already some damage to various parts of the body because of the excess blood sugar and/or higher insulin levels.
Some physicians will recommend A1c levels that are significantly below 5.7 as the healthiest. One of them is Dr. Bernstein, author of this book:
If people change their diet by reducing carbohydrate intake enough (how much depends on the person) in most cases blood sugar and insulin levels will return to normal levels and some or all of the damage done will heal itself.