What does the A1C test measure ?

By akamonie Latest Reply 2011-10-14 09:13:41 -0500
Started 2011-10-10 18:33:11 -0500

My last A1C test was maybe a month ago and it was super high. So now I need help understanding the test. Does it measure what you really eat or what your blood sugar numbers are. I know that I have to really work on this as much as my BS numbers. Or is it the same thing ? Have any helpful tips ?

15 replies

jayabee52 2011-10-12 12:43:43 -0500 Report

Actually the A1c is like a snapshot of the AVERAGE of your BG levels over the last 90 days. The BG numbers are what your BG level is now.

2011-10-12 12:38:22 -0500 Report

The A1C test measures how much glucose/sugar you have in your blood. It's also a way that drs know what type pf meds you should be on. At least thats how it was explained to me.

alanbossman 2011-10-10 19:10:24 -0500 Report

A1C is a measure of glucose that are attached to your red blood cells for the last 3 months to see how well you have managed your blood sugar.

alanbossman 2011-10-12 08:41:09 -0500 Report

No that little girl is my granddaughter,she is my world.

2011-10-12 12:50:25 -0500 Report

I see now why you're a diabetic!! lol :D That little girl looks like she is sweeter than any type of sugary foods. She has a very sweet looking face. And I would be just like you Alan, couldn't get enough of her!

akamonie 2011-10-12 12:09:43 -0500 Report

Alan Wow ! She is so cute. Your a lucky man. My dad always wanted grand kids but my sister nor I could have any so he lost out so you should be very thankful.

2011-10-12 12:45:29 -0500 Report

I see now why you're a diabetic.:D lol!! That little girl looks like she is sweeter than any type of candy that is available. She has a very sweet looking face. And I would be just like you are. Couldn't get enough of her!!

kdroberts 2011-10-10 19:48:31 -0500 Report

Pretty much. It measures the % of your red blood cells that have essentially bonded to glucose. The misunderstanding that gets perpetuated is the whole 3 months thing. It's really just like a blood sugar test in that it tells you the reading at the time of the blood test, not what it has been for the last 3 months or any period of time, it is just a snapshot. It's assumed that the lifecycle of everyones red blood cells is the same and linear, which is not the case. Your number will be heavily based on how many you have and how long their lifecylce is. The problems start to come into play because red blood cells live 60-120 days for most people. 90 days is a convenient average but it's not always true. If yours only live 60 days then your A1c will be a lot lower than somebody who's live 120 days if all other factors are the same. Losing a significant amount of blood will also lower the number since you will 'artificially' have a lot more new blood cells that haven't had the chance to bond with glucose and will have lost a lot that were bonded to glucose. It also doesn't identify highs and lows in blood sugar. You can have a low A1c that can be potentially lethal because of massive swings high and low but you can also have one that maybe slightly high but actually pretty good because your blood sugar was very stable with no large swings.

It's a tricky subject but it's best used long term with day to day blood sugar readings.

akamonie 2011-10-10 21:38:35 -0500 Report

Thank you for your information. I can't say I understand it totally but it helps. Im happy it doesn't measure highs and lows per say but guess I need to just try and eat better. Dr. says im also in trouble with my kidneys, so now im taking medication for that too. Kidney failure really scares me so im doing all I can to stop that from happening. Thanks again.

kdroberts 2011-10-11 13:45:47 -0500 Report

This may make no sense but in my head it does! Think of a fishing pond where people come, fish for 90 minutes and then go. No one arrives or leaves at the same time but when one person leaves a new person takes there place. Every 90 minutes you count the number of people who have caught a fish and work out a % of people fishing who have caught a fish. The more fish in the pond the more likely it is to catch one. The people who have been there longest are more likely to have caught a fish than the people who have just arrived. That's kind of like an A1c.

Now, let's say that a swarm of bees hits one are of the pond so all the people fishing take off and new people take their place. The new people have less time to catch a fish so the % when you check will be low. On the flip side, its sunny and everyone stays 120 minutes but you still measure at 90. The % catching a fish will be higher because people will have had longer to catch.

Now say you take away 1/3 of the fish. It's harder to catch so your % is probably going to be lower than before. Or you throw in 1/3 more fish, the opposite is true.
Lastly, you are just counting the number of people who caught a fish. You aren't measuring how big the fish are.

A1c is kind of like that. But without the fish. Or the bees.

berrykins0 2011-10-11 12:17:36 -0500 Report

good for you doing the best you can will make you feel good about your self keep on trying to eat better. i wish you the best of luck

akamonie 2011-10-11 17:38:04 -0500 Report

Thanks for your kind words and support. I went to the market today and got mostly healthy food. I am sort of proud of myself. Thanks again.