All You Need To Know About the A1C Test for Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition that doesn’t usually show physical symptoms, but if left untreated can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you’re at risk of prediabetes, it’s especially important to work with a healthcare provider to monitor your A1c level. The A1c test, also called the hemoglobin A1C, is a laboratory test that shows your average blood sugar levels over time. This article will provide background information on the A1C test, important facts about prediabetes, and resources for further understanding.

What is Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition where one’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, prediabetes affects 8.3 million people and puts them at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Prediabetes and A1C Test

The A1c test is a clinical test used to detect early prediabetes. Your A1c test number reflects your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. An A1c level of 5.7-6.4% indicates prediabetes and a level of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes.

Benefits of Knowing Your A1C

Knowing your A1C test results provides valuable information about your health. If your test result is high, it indicates that your blood sugar levels may be increasing and you may want to take steps to avoid type 2 diabetes. If your A1C test result is normal, it is still important to pay attention to possible symptoms of prediabetes and take appropriate steps to protect yourself from type 2 diabetes and other diabetes-related complications.

How the A1C Test Works

The A1C test measures the percentage of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. Glycated hemoglobin, also known as hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c, is a form of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells) that is combined with glucose. As your blood contains more glucose, a higher percentage of hemoglobin will become glycated. The amount of glycated hemoglobin in your blood reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.

What to Expect During the A1C Test

A healthcare provider will draw a small sample of blood from your arm and send it to a laboratory for analysis. The A1c test results are usually available within two weeks. The analyst will measure the amount of glycated hemoglobin in your blood and report the result as a percentage. Your healthcare provider will use the results to determine your risk of prediabetes and take appropriate action if they feel it is necessary.

Risk Factors of Prediabetes

Although anyone can be affected by prediabetes, certain factors can make you more at risk of developing it. These include:

-Family history of type 2 diabetes

-Being 45 years or older
-Being overweight or obese
-Sedentary lifestyle
-High-fat diet
-High blood pressure
-High cholesterol

How to Lower Your Risk of Prediabetes

If you’re at risk of prediabetes or have been told you have prediabetes, making lifestyle changes can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

-Stay physically active: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

-Maintain a healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet that is high in whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables and low in saturated fat and processed foods.

-Keep your weight in check: Maintaining a healthy weight is key to preventing prediabetes.

-Get enough sleep: Adults should aim for seven to nine hours a night.

-Quit smoking: Smoking increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

-Reduce stress: Stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, smoking, and excessive drinking.

Resources for Further Information

Living with prediabetes can be overwhelming, but there are resources available to help you manage the condition. Here are some resources to get you started:

-American Diabetes Association: An organization devoted to helping people with diabetes lead healthy lives

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: A source of up-to-date information and resources on prediabetes and diabetes

-Diabetes Canada: A Canadian organization that provides information and support for those living with diabetes

-American Association of Diabetes Educators: An organization dedicated to empowering individuals to manage diabetes

It is important to monitor your A1c levels if you are at risk of prediabetes. The A1c test is an easy and reliable way to determine your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Knowing your A1c test results can help you and your healthcare provider identify potential risks and take steps to lower your chances of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Make sure to speak to a healthcare professional about lifestyle changes or medications that can help you lower your risk of complications related to diabetes.