Chapter 2: Monitoring Your Blood Glucose
How the A1C Test Helps
You use a meter to track your blood glucose every day. But you also need to know if your treatment
plan is working for you over time. An A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test can help. This test measures
your average blood glucose level over 2 or 3 months. If your A1C number stays too high, your treatment
plan may need changes.
Your A1C Goal
An A1C result often is shown as a percentage. Your health care provider will help you figure out
your target A1C. Many people aim for an A1C of 7% or lower. The general goal of <7% appears
reasonable for many adults with diabetes. Higher or lower A1C goals may be appropriate. Ask
your health care provider what A1C goal is right for you. Your target A1C number will depend
on your age, general health, and other factors. Achieving your A1C goals may help lower your
risk of complications.
The A1C Test
The A1C is a blood test. It measures how much glucose is connected to a protein (called
hemoglobin) inside the red blood cells over the prior 2 to 3 months. You will likely have an A1C test
every 3 to 6 months. Your health care provider may have your A1C tested 2 times a year (ie, every 6
months) if you are meeting your treatment goals and have stable blood glucose control. However,
your health care provider may have your A1C tested more frequently (eg, every 3 months) if your
therapy has changed or if you are not meeting your blood glucose target. Talk with your health care
provider to schedule an A1C. And don’t forget to follow up on the results.
Without Diabetes Red blood cell With Diabetes
Healthy red blood cells have some
glucose connected to them.
A high A1C means that too much
glucose is connected to the cells.