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HomeBlogWhat is HbA1C? Diabetes, Blood Sugar, and Risk

Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test to assess your risk for diabetes. It gives you a better idea of your blood glucose (blood sugar) over a three-month period rather than a snapshot of your fasting blood sugar.

What is Hemoglobin A1C Measuring?

Hemoglobin is a protein only found in red blood cells. Red blood cells live for about 3 months, so we use this to find your average blood sugar in the three month period. Hemoglobin becomes coated with glucose from the blood stream. This glucose attaches to the red blood cell, which is what Hemoglobin A1C measures (HbA1C).

This data comes from the National Institutes of Health. There was a study called the “Diabetes Control and Complications” trial, which formed a standardized assay of glycohemoglobin. They found higher main A1C levels were predictive of diabetes eye disease. And if you reduced it below 7.0, there was a 35-76% decrease in small blood vessel complications like eye disease, kidney disease, and neuropathy.

How often should I test? If you are stable, 1-2 times a year. If you are unstable or have started new medications or dosages, every 3 months.

What’s the test? It is a simple blood test.

What are the results?

  • NORMAL nondiabetic = you must be below 5.7%
  • PREDIABETIC = 5.7 – 6.4%
  • DIABETIC = 6.5% or above.

There are things that can distort the HBA1C level: altitude, anemia, pregnancy, blood hemorrhage, iron supplements, and kidney or liver failure. There are things — such as thalassemia and B12 deficiency — that can make it falsely high.

What should you do if you are above 5.0?

  • TEST. Follow your levels. See the Biohackr Health insulin resistance panel.
  • FOLLOW. Consider doing a continuous glucose monitor to find what foods trigger you.
  • DIET. Intermittent fasting, lowering carbohydrates and sugars, and eating protein and fats with food can help slow your glucose rise.
  • EXERCISE. Read blogs on how simple walking for 2-5 minutes after eating can lower the rise of glucose and help prevent diabetes.
  • MEDICATIONS. Metformin, semaglutide, and other medications help.
  • EDUCATE. Please see the blogs on Biohackr Health — search by the words “insulin” or “diabetes” to pull up salient articles.



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