Listen Up! Get an A1C Test!
Millions of adults haven’t gotten the message about A1C tests. The A1C is a blood test that shows how well your diabetes management plan is working.
The test measures your average blood sugar level over the past two or three months. An A1C below 5.7 percent is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates you have prediabetes, and 6.5 percent or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Taking the A1C Test
If your diabetes is well-controlled and your blood sugar levels are stable, the American Diabetes Association recommends you have the A1C test twice a year. Your doctor may want to run the test as often as every three months if your A1C is not within your target range.
A simple finger stick can be done in your doctor’s office, with results available in about 10 minutes. The A1C test results provide insight into how your treatment plan is working, and how it might be modified to better control the condition.
What the A1C Results Mean
Your A1C goal is specific to you. Several factors come into play, such as your age, how advanced the diabetes is and any other heath conditions you have. A common A1C goal for people with diabetes is less than 7 percent. If you can keep your A1C number below your goal, you help reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye problems.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Diabetic eye disease can develop even when your sight is good, so annual dilated eye exams are important for finding problems early. If you have trouble reading, if your vision is blurred or if you see rings around lights, dark spots or flashing lights, you may have eye problems. Tell your health care team or eye doctor about any eye problems.
Check Your Blood Pressure
About 70 percent of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure or use prescription medications to lower high blood pressure. Maintaining normal blood pressure control can reduce the risk of eye, kidney and nerve disease by approximately 33 percent, and the risk of heart disease and stroke by approximately 33 to 50 percent. A healthy diet and physical activity can help you lower your blood pressure.