What is the difference between blood sugar level and a1c?

John Lassider
By John Lassider Latest Reply 2012-05-22 22:18:11 -0500
Started 2012-05-01 17:34:04 -0500

I always thought that they give the same information. How do doctors interpret these two numbers differently?

6 replies

kdroberts 2012-05-04 19:35:13 -0500 Report

The A1c doesn't measure blood sugar. It measures what % your red blood cells have bonded with sugar. Many different factors play into the result, blood sugar is just one.

Think of blood sugar as your speed in a car. You look at your speedometer and that's the speed you are going that second. Think of the A1c as the MPG of your car. Speed plays a part but so do other things. You could estimate your average speed based on your MPG but I don't know anyone who does. I feel the same way about using the A1c to estimate an average blood sugar.

jayabee52 2012-05-01 18:02:52 -0500 Report

Howdy John, WELCOME to DiabeticConnect!

The Blood Glucose (BG) (aka "sugar") reading is a one-point-in -time reading.

The A1c is a 90 day rolling average of what your total BG levels (not just the readings but the 24 hrs a day average) of how you have managed your diabetes.

You can have some very high BG tests but have a good A1c if you have some offsetting lows. It would however be good for your body if you did not have very high highs or very low lows.

It would be better for you if you could manage your BG levels to go up slightly and down slightly like a gently rolling wave. Where a Person with Diabetes ("PWD") gets in trouble with complications is when they get on the BG "roller coaster" with steep ups and white knuckle downs.

I pray this has clarified it for you

Praying God's richest blessings upon you and yours

James Baker

Bamberg 2012-05-02 07:45:21 -0500 Report

It should be added that the A1c is weighted so that the most recent month has more influence on it thanthe most distant one.

Controlled 2012-05-22 22:18:11 -0500 Report

I wished I had been around during the high fructose corn syrup comments (HFCS). It is infuriating that many of us here developed this condition due to the fact that food is chemically altered, enhanced and depleted. Chemicals developed to preserve shelf life have, and continue to, compromise and abbreviate human life. I prefer to refrain from the conspiracy theory also; but take a look around you. If there was a label on an egg or an apple, it would merely say "egg" or "apple." Take a look at the "food" that we eat. Polysyllabic compound chemicals abound. It's no longer a surprise to me that humans become ill. It is surprising that we survive the chemicals that we consume and are exposed to at all.