Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious problems. It can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get a form of diabetes called gestational diabetes.
A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Exercise, weight control and developing a meal plan can help control diabetes. Monitoring your glucose levels and taking medicine, if prescribed, will also help keep diabetes under control.
Source: National Institutes of Health
What is Hemoglobin A1c?
The hemoglobin A1c is a lab test that shows the average level of blood sugar (glucose) over the previous three months. It shows how well a person is controlling their diabetes. The A1c correlates with end organ (blood vessels, nerves kidneys, heart or eyes) damage and therefore is a common marker for disease control.
The following are the results when A1c is being used to diagnose diabetes:
- Normal (no diabetes): Less than 5.7%
- Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
- Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
Abnormal results mean that you have had a high blood sugar level over a period of weeks to months.
If your A1c is above 6.5% and you do not already have diabetes, you may be diagnosed with diabetes.
If your level is above 7% and you have diabetes, it often means that your blood sugar is not well controlled. Most doctors treating diabetics will set a goal for their patients of maintaining an A1c of 7 percent to prevent organ damage.