Is an A1C of 6% diabetic?

Deborah L
By Deborah L Latest Reply 2012-10-18 21:27:14 -0500
Started 2010-02-14 19:30:41 -0600

I'm brand new here and learning. I had a doctor tell me I was diabetic because of my A1C hitting 6% but 2 weeks later a different doctor told me I wasn't. I've read it both way during my research and it gets confusing.

43 replies

CassandraG 2011-08-31 12:35:03 -0500 Report

I was there once. 6.1 I was told that I was at the point that diet and removal of stress could keep me off the meds. I did not listen and now I am fighting to stay off the needle. I am way more scared of needles than that sneakers bar that calls me…LOL

sheriden 2011-08-31 00:36:25 -0500 Report

When My Doc did my A1c he said way to many Dr. go with pre or borderline stuff and if they would just start treating it asap it may not go full blowen. Mine was around 6 all the times in the past with being pregnent way high and if my last was not 3 months early I would have been in the hospital for those last 3 mo on pump. Now my A1c was like 7.5 so I would listen to what your doctor is saying. I wish I had had mine way befor now I don' know if I would still have had to take meds or not.

Kaiyle 2010-09-04 16:41:19 -0500 Report

Normal human glucose levels: 4.3 - 5.5 % (70 - 108 mg/dl)

A1c level of 5.6 - 5.9% blood glucose has exceeded the normal upper limit of the assay range, indicating an abnormality in the expected normal human range.

An A1c level of 6.0% or greater represents a high risk for diabetes mellitus.

Deb-G 2010-03-22 17:16:33 -0500 Report

4-5.9% is considered "normal"

so while you are beginning stages of diabetes you are in a good position to get that back down and maintain :)

Best to know now :)

IronOre 2012-10-18 21:27:14 -0500 Report

I agree with Deb.
From your picture it doesn't look like your are overweight - but if you are then losing weight might help things out to bring your number down.
Exericse also helps, as well as eating well including reducing carbs a bit.
Taking a muti-vitamin may also help.

Pat Roth
Pat Roth 2010-03-22 23:28:26 -0500 Report

Thanks for the numbers, Deb, I had no idea but have been fortunate to not be over 6.8, now down to 6.0, daily BS are finally getting lower more often—104 mid-afternoon, working outside now in this chilly, sunshine!! Yeah!! PR

GabbyPA 2010-03-22 15:44:17 -0500 Report

As you can see, everyone is different. If I was in your shoes, I would start taking preventative measures. If you have been tested for so long, your doctors should have been making suggestions of what to do. If they are not, then start asking what you can do. Get a copy of your bloodwork papers and you will see what a non-diabetic range is right next to your numbers. Even if they are unwilling to call you diabetic, I would start taking steps to make sure it doesn't progress. There is no guarantee that you won't become a diabetic, but the longer you can keep your levels low, the better off you will be. Don't look at it as a sentence, but a discovery. Being diabetic can be an adventure, it is up to you whether it is a good adventure or not.

Pat Roth
Pat Roth 2010-03-22 23:31:36 -0500 Report

True—my Dr was far more serious than I when I was first diagnosed—I was used to denying and go-go-go——but thru this site, I finally learned what others were doing, had something to compare too—now I am not so scared and lost! Thanks ALL!! PR (My first number was 6.4 or so—-not bad I was told but glad I started making changes THEN as it still took awhile to get the average down to a norm—-PR

kdroberts 2010-02-15 06:57:54 -0600 Report

Most non-diabetics will have an A1c of low 4's to low 5's. A1c hasn't been recommended as a diagnosis tool until recently and "they" decided that 6.0-6-4 is pre-diabetic and 6.5+ is diabetic. Did you have a fasting glucose test or oral glucose tolerance test?

Kirla 2010-02-15 07:10:20 -0600 Report

Here s a link that explains it pretty good.

Deborah L
Deborah L 2010-02-15 10:18:19 -0600 Report

I had the fasting glucose tolerance test, and have had one for every 3 months for a year and a half to keep watch on it as a prediabetic. I just wish these 2 doctors would agree without trying to make me feel like I'm a mental case for wanting to be sure.

pattroyka58 2011-08-31 14:05:04 -0500 Report

Isn't that the most frustrating thing, when 2 different doctors tell you two different things? You'd think that if they thought you were diabetic, all that glucose would've put you on over the line! Pick the doc who's the most knowledgeable about PWD, and it doesn't have to be one you've already seen. Find a good Endocrinologist, or someone that specializes in NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) and go with them.

cc9 2010-02-15 10:28:08 -0600 Report

deborahL. its not such a bad idea to take matters in your own hands and make lifestyle changes. changes such as eating healthy, no smoking, moving your body around each day, drinking water, less salt etc are beneficial to everyone's lives not just diabetics. i wasnt given a chance to make changes to effect the outcome as i went from prediabetic to type 2 very quickly.

Deborah L
Deborah L 2010-02-15 10:46:50 -0600 Report

Thank you all for your wonderful help and input. I'm getting quite an education here and the support is wonderful. What a difference you have all made. I quit smoking last year, eat mostly healthy except for not eating enough protein, and exercise most days by walking 1-3 miles. I know I have a few weaknesses left to clear up and need to learn to watch my food even more. I'm confused about what I read about keeping track of food. Do you count carbs, sugars, fats, or what? And also, which kind of sugar substitutes are best? I see sugar alcohol products claiming to be for diabetics yet also see bad reviews. Reading labels in stores is making me nuts. I was told last year that even prediabetic I needed to start treating it as if I were to slow it down but I still seem to be losing ground. My blood sugar runs anywhere from 97 to 151 on a fasting glucose test every 3 months.

Kirla 2010-02-15 11:24:53 -0600 Report


I posted what has helped me above. I believe if you just drink plan water. 8 cups or more a day and start eating salads and low carb vegetables, it helps reduce insulin resistance.

I don’t track carbs, fats, protein or sugar. I just stopped eating sugar, drinking sodas or consume foods with more than 5-6 net carbs per serving. You may be able to tolerate more.

You should purchase a meter and test what you eat. I test before and 1 hour after eating and stopped eating foods that spiked my blood sugar more than 30-40 points. Wal-Mart sells one for about $10.00 and the strips cost $20.00 for a box of 50. It should only take a few weeks to see what foods are spiking you. Most starchy foods will. If you can’t afford to test that much. You can always start with one meal and then go on to the next when you are satisfied with the results. My doctor told me I didn’t need to test. But by testing I got my A1C from 14.1 to 5.9 in four months. has a nutrient analyzer. It’s free to join and you can enter what you eat and it will give you a breakdown of what your PFC ratio is. I did mine awhile back and found out mine was Protein 20%, Fats 60%, Carbs 20%. Most of the fats come from nuts and vegetables sources. My saturated fat was less than 10% of my total diet.

I was a bit surprised. I thought that my protein level would have been higher with all the nuts and beans I eat along with the protein shakes. But it was only 20%.

They also have a recipe analyzer. I found it helpful in analyzing my TVP recipes.

I use splenda. It works great in cooking and baking. I use the granular kind for cooking. It comes in a large bag. Cost about $12.00 and last for several months.

I also read labels. Always looking for something new to eat that’s only 5-6 net carbs per serving. I found there isn’t much.

Good luck

evie242430 2010-02-15 12:41:01 -0600 Report

My nutritionist told me to watch the net carbs per serving, figure out how many servings it has, the sugar alcohol is part of the net carbs, she told being "sugar free" isn't always true because of sugar alcohol, sometimes it's just better to have the "real sugar" or even better yet, avoid it all together. Cinnamon helps but it isn't a cure, I have people telling me to drink this or that, before I try anything I get online and research myself, my father had a few set backs trying those "miracle cures" after he found out he was diabetic by almost losing his eye. He's a hard headed man and was in denial about being diabetic and didn't pay much attention to the education films they had him watch in the hospital. Just watch out and be careful. Not only with food but with other medications. It scares me that he has to take not only metformin but all the other pills for cholesterol, his heart, blood pressure, pain, ugh it's mind boggling.

Kirla 2010-02-15 13:54:53 -0600 Report


I think you have a great nutritionist. Most people, who post about their nutritionist, talk about eating 45-60 grams of carbs each meal and another 15-30 per each snack. They also talk about taking huge amounts of meds.

Some people who get their insulin resistance under control before they start damaging their pancreas to much, can go back to eating that many carbs. I found I have to severely limit the amount of carbs I eat. But by cutting out bread, pasta, sugar and most starchy foods I have gotten my blood sugar under good control.

I also tend to stay away from sugar alcohol. I stated to use sugar free maple syrup. Didn’t like the side effects.

When I signed on to diabetic diet secrets I read an article on that website that gave cinnamon a great review. For the last couple of months I have been adding cinnamon to my morning protein drink. I didn’t notice any difference in my blood sugar readings. Last week I stopped using it. My 7-14-30 day averages on my meter went from 95-95-95 to 87-89-91 this past week. I think I’m giving it up in my protein drink.

I don’t use any miracle cures either. When 1st diagnosed I signed up to receive e-mails, from who I call the snake oil lady. She sells a supplement she claims cured her husband. I didn’t buy her product but on her website is lists all the nutrients in her snake oil. I copied these down and Googled them one at a time. I made a list of all the foods that contain those nutrients and that’s what I started to eat. Let me know and I will post my results in a separate posting.

When diagnosed I also had high blood pressure and cholesterol. Once I got my blood sugar under control, I no longer had a problem with blood pressure or cholesterol. It’s a side benefit of eating right. By taking care of the blood sugar I also took care of the other problems I had. I no longer have to take meds for any of this.

Thanks you

MAYS 2010-02-15 14:07:02 -0600 Report

People Please stay away from the " Quick Cure Alls ",
they do not exist, it takes work, sometimes hard, and a plan, diabetes is your life partner, an uncontrolled criminal if you allow it to be !
Keep it in check, lock it up !

" Mays "

Kirla 2010-02-15 14:13:48 -0600 Report

For now its locked up tight. But like the lottery. Hey you never know. Someday it might get away from me. But untill that day comes I have a very tight control of what I eat. I figure I'll be testing until I can no longer test. Hopely I will have a pretty nurse to test for me if that day ever comes.

MAYS 2010-02-15 14:47:07 -0600 Report

A pretty nurse can always take a needle and give me a shot in the … I'll wait until that time comes !

" Mays "

Kirla 2010-02-15 15:14:29 -0600 Report

I found that by drinking 8+ glasses of water and eating low carb vegetables is what has help me the most. By testing before and after each meal and eliminating foods that spike my blood sugar more than 30-40 points, I was able to reduce my A1C from 14.1 to 5.9 in less than 4 months. Not to sure if the garbage you are promoting will do any better than that. I think I will stick with what really works and save my money for the soy flour I want to buy.

evie242430 2010-02-24 12:29:29 -0600 Report

my nutritionist recommended 45 per meal and 30 total for snacks. She told me if I go over a few, don't panic, at the end of the day it tends to all balance out.
I like to drink hot tea and that's how I have cinnamon, not everyday, just as a treat. Especially during a cold day.
I know they make cinnamon pills but I like the taste and the smell, my house smells soo good when I make it!
At first my focus was "OMG I have to have tortillas or I'll die!" And now it's "how can I get more veg in my diet?" It's a long process, I know this is also the rest of my life. I just joined Spark people. They have a warning that the meal plans they recommend are not meant for diabetics, but they have a list of different foods and you can customize your profile. It's really neat. If you don't like to write down everything, this will help you out.

I also bought the book The First Year Type 2 Diabetes by Gretchen Becker. It's a good read and so far I've related to a lot of what she writes about, she has good explanations of how and why are bodies react the way they do to food. I found it on Amazon for as low as 8.00 for a new book.

Kirla 2010-02-24 17:11:44 -0600 Report


I joined sparkpeople last April 2009. I use the nutrient analyzer all the time. I spent a few days inputting all the foods I eat into the analyzer. Recently I found out that my PFC ratio is 20% protein, 60% fats, 20% carbs. The fats are mostly the good fats. Saturated fat is less than 10% of my total diet.

They also have lots of great exercise videos.

The recipe analyzer is great to analyze your recipes. I have inputted a couple of recipes I make and it tells you the nutrient facts of your recipe. I think its great.

Sparkteams. There are several diabetic sparteams you can join. They also have several low carb sparkteams. I joined several myself.

I found that eating 45 carbs per meal and having 15 carbs per snack, spike my blood sugar. I stopped eating foods that spiked my blood sugar and try not to eat any food that has more than 4-5 net carbs per serving. If eating that many carbs works for you than keep eating away. If not I would recommend reading some material on low carb diets. I bought the Atkins For Life book and try to follow his stage 4 maintenance plan. I haven’t lost much weight but my blood sugars are great. I first researched low carb diets on There lots of info there.

Good luck

evie242430 2010-02-14 21:31:04 -0600 Report

I was just diagnosed on Nov 30th 2009 with Type 2. My first A1C had me off the charts. My nutritionist and my doctor told me I was probably around a 13… how I never ended up going to the hospital is beyond everyone. The nutritionist and my doctor told me that the recommended range is between 6-6.5. I will have my 2nd A1C on Feb 22st. I have learned so much here and with other friends that are also diabetics. My goal of course is to not ever have to "upgrade" to insulin shots and to control my diabetes with just diet. Before being diagnosed and still, I can't stand having to take pills everyday and stick my fingers or palm. I don't care what they say..every prick stings. I am thankful for the wake up call I got being diagnosed. I had to learn how to cook better, not just for me, but also my family. It's not fun being the first female in my family with diabetes. Just a year ago I wasn't diabetic, things changed so fast for me, I am still learning. One thing I have been told is to listen to your body- It knows when something isn't right. When in doubt, pull out your meter and check. I always carry mine with me with extra strips and lancets…which has come in handy these first 3 months. Good Luck and welcome to the community. There are all kinds of topics here to read about that I never thought would be an issue.

Deborah L
Deborah L 2010-02-14 23:05:00 -0600 Report

Thank you all. I'm just confused since A1C of 6 seems to be some kind of borderline. The doctor was really rude saying things like "You want to stick yourself every day and be diabetic, fine you can be diabetic." No, I just wanted to know why one doc told me I was and one told me I wasn't in the same office. Because I need to be treated somehow if I am and don't want to find out 6 months later i should have been. Right now I'll keep exercising and eating the best I can. Anyone know how to help with sugar cravings?

Kirla 2010-02-14 23:11:53 -0600 Report

I went low carb. I don't miss the sugar and starches at all. My A1C went from 14.1 to 5.4 in less than a year. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of low carb vegetables.

cc9 2010-02-15 08:39:57 -0600 Report

i find exercising helps with the cravings. and making sure you have protein and good carbs. there are also supplements you can take to help with the sugar cravings and you can get more info on this from a good health shop.

Kirla 2010-02-14 23:05:18 -0600 Report


This is what has helped me. Good luck.

I was Diagnosed Type 2 on 26 Feb. 2009. My fasting blood sugar was 366, A1C was 14.1, cholesterol was 300. Blood Pressure 145/95. The doctors put me on 500mg Metformin twice a day, 10mg Lisinopril, 40mg Simvastatin and 81mg Aspirin once a day.

On March 1st I purchased a meter and started testing before and two hours after each meal. I now test approximately 1 hour after each meal and stopped eating foods that spike my blood sugar more than 30-40 points.

I stopped eating sugar, using salt, drinking coffee, soda, beer and wine right away. I started eating salads, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, pickles, sauerkraut and homemade coleslaw. Lots of coleslaw.

I also started to drink at least 8 cups of water per day. I drink 2 cups after the protein drink, 2 ½ cups while driving to work, 2 ½ cups at lunch, 2 ½ cups on the way home, will drink 2 cups after supper and will sometimes drink 2 cups before going to bed.

Over the next several weeks I stopped eating bread, crackers, noodles and anything that contained any kind of grains. No flour at all. I check the labels on everything I buy and will not purchase any product with more than 5 or 6 net carbs per serving with the exception of chana dal.

When I wake up in the morning I test my blood sugar and drink a low carb protein powder drink mix. I used to use homemade soymilk to mix with the protein powder. I now use homemade almond or walnut milk. The nut milks are a lot easier to make. I only stopped using soymilk because of the time it takes to make it. Nut milks can be made a lot quicker and you don’t need to boil a lot of water. Just soak ½ cup of nuts in a bowl of water for several hours. Drain, rinse, and blend with 3 ½ -4 cups of water in a blender. Strain and drink. Makes about a quart. Last for 3-5 days.

I eat about 1oz of sunflower seeds or peanuts for a mid morning snack along with the sugar free Equate Fiber Therapy supplement.

At lunch I eat 1 oz of tuna fish mixed with a little mayonnaise. I used to just eat it out of a small container. Recently I found some low carb wraps and use a small piece with the tuna fish. 13 grams of wrap, about ¼ piece. Before I eat the tuna I have 2-3 oz’s of stir-fried vegetables. (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Cabbage, Onion, Garlic or any combination of these). I used to eat my channa dal in a separate bowl. I now mix the vegetable with the channa dal. It’s a perfect mix together. Lately I have been making sloppy joes out of ground turkey. I use 2-3 oz’s of it with about 20 grams of salsa topped with a little cheese. I add about a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to both the sloppy joe and channa dal. Mix it with a little hot sauce. Sometimes I will eat leftover chicken or beef. About 2-3 oz’s. Right after the tuna I eat a small piece of chocolate soy cake. Tastes great. 2-3 oz’s per serving. Last I will eat 1 oz of peanuts or sunflower seeds. I then take 4000 IU’s of vitamin D, 3000 MG’s of fish oil concentrate and one multi vitamin tablet for adults over 50. I take this with 20 oz’s of water.

For supper I eat 3 oz’s of salad. I use a low carb dressing and add about 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. I used to add some olive oil but lately have not added it to my salad. I will then eat a chicken breast or 2-3 oz’s of the sloppy joe mix or either a bocca burger or vegetable patty. Once in awhile may have a little beef or pork. I eat the burger or patty on a plate. No bread. Just pickles, mayonnaise and mustard. I cut it with a knife and fork.

In the evening I now will drink a few beers or a little wine before going to bed. I don’t recommend drinking alcohol if on medications or taking insulin. It’s a side benefit of not taking meds. I have found that I can eat a little more carbs when drinking alcohol than with out it. I will eat 1-2 serving of almonds. Lately have been eating lumpia. Either cheese or pork lumpia. Sometimes will eat a serving of soy crisps with French onion dip. I try and not eat too much at night.

When eating out I find myself eating chicken and beef a lot. Chicken wings I seem to eat most of the time when we want something fast. They also come with celery and blue cheese.

My morning blood sugar has slowly dropped from the 200-300 range, to an average of about 85. Several months ago I started testing on the peaks (1hour after eating) and most of the time it’s under 110. My 7-14-30 day averages bounce around a lot but most of the time there between 90 & 95. My lowest 7-14 day average was 88. My 7-day average has gone over 100 only once in the last several months. My numbers are constantly changing. Like a roller coaster. They dip down and then go up and down.

After about seven weeks of taking the meds I couldn’t tolerate the side effects any more and quit taking them. My blood sugar continued to drop week after week, my blood pressure has averaged around 110/70 and my cholesterol has remained below 200 since I stopped taking the meds. My A1C dropped to 5.9 in four months and seven months after being diagnosed it was 5.6. Got my latest results on 1/19/10 5.4


Deborah L
Deborah L 2010-02-14 23:12:06 -0600 Report

Thank you Kevin. That was a lot of useful information. Good recipes and eating habits too.

Kirla 2010-02-14 23:13:54 -0600 Report

Its worked for me. It may not work for everyone, but I think it will work for most.

Good luck

evie242430 2010-02-15 09:18:51 -0600 Report

Thanks, I had started watching carbs when I tested my BS and it was over 400, and it dropped to around 253 within a week, now almost 3 months later I average no more that 120 peak and I have not gone lower than 80. Prior to becoming diabetic I have tested a BS of 67 that was about a year ago when one of my friends found out she was diabetic and knew that I wasn't. We were safe and did not use the same lancet, we used my father's meter and compared all three results, mine being the lowest at the time. I have cut out a lot of bread and I have found sweet things that don't contain a lot of sugar alcohol or sugar. I use honey or splenda, eat salad, chicken, beef, open burgers, tortillas, nuts and plain yogurt with a serving of fruit (usually a packaged cup of peaches) with 1/2 cup cheerios tend to be my work week breakfast. I learned that if I tell myself that I can't have it,then I want it even more, but if I tell myself I can have it but not a lot then I will either "save it for next time" and go for healthier food. I definitely recommend seeing a nutritionist about diabetic education. She is the one that showed me how to eat and had information for the local Diabetic Support Group. Most insurance companies will cover diabetic/weight loss education.

Kirla 2010-02-15 10:38:01 -0600 Report


Looks like your doing great. Keep up the great work. I made a lot of the same changes you did and I have had similar results. Thanks for posting your story. I believe in what we do and think if people make a lot of the same changes you made, they would get the same results. My blood sugar hardly never goes above 110 and most mornings it in the mid 80’s.

Thank you

MAYS 2010-02-14 20:24:17 -0600 Report

Welcome to Diabetic Connect !

This may help you some what, but you should consult a medical professional !

The major laboratories that test our levels often say that the normal range is 4.0 to 6.0. They base that range on an old standard chemistry text, Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial or DCCT, one of the two largest and most important studies of people with diabetes, said that 6.0 was a normal level. But the other key study, the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study or UKPDS, which compared conventional and intensive therapy in more than 5,000 newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes, said that 6.2 is the normal level.

spiritwalker 2010-02-14 19:42:50 -0600 Report

It depends on who you ask. The ADA has one standard.
The AMA has another. The usual is 6-7 is the norm for a type 2.
Normal for a non diabetic is 5-6. That is a standard at the
diabetes clinic in my area. Now some Dr. say if your blood
sugar is over 100. for two A1C tests that you are diabetic.
I am not sure this helps you.
Welcome to DC. I am sure others will share what standards they were given.

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