What A1c Level Is Considered Pre Diabetic – The hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test reflects the average level of blood glucose (sugar) over the past 2-3 months. The test measures the amount of glucose bound to hemoglobin (the protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen) and indicates it as a percentage of total hemoglobin. A consistently high HbA1c value indicates either type 2 diabetes or an increased risk of developing diabetes (prediabetes).
A normal HbA1c level is 5.6% or less, while an HbA1c level between 5.7% and 6.5% indicates prediabetes. Without lifestyle intervention, 15-30% of prediabetics will likely develop type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years. If your HbA1c test is in the prediabetes range, talk to your doctor so they can work with you to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
What A1c Level Is Considered Pre Diabetic
An HbA1c result of 6.5% or more indicates type 2 diabetes. If your HbA1c test result is 6.5% or more, contact your doctor immediately so that they can manage your condition together with you.
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Screening for HbA1c is best practice, and here’s why. When ®Quest looked at Quest Diagnostics’ $1 screening campaign at the American Diabetes Association, it found something startling. 35% of those screened during the campaign had normal glucose results, but elevated HbA1c, placing them in the range of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. If this program only measures glucose, 35% of people with normal glucose levels would be unaware of their condition. Incorporating HbA1c testing into wellness screening can be key to understanding diabetes risk. COVID-19 Update: Learn more about the precautions — including visitor rules — at our hospitals to keep you safe and the safety of our patients and caregivers.
The CDC estimates that more than one in three American adults has prediabetes — a condition characterized by blood sugar levels that are above average but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Prediabetes is usually diagnosed with two simple blood tests that can be tested at your GP’s surgery.
The first type of prediabetes screening, known as a fasting blood glucose test, measures the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood after an 8- to 12-hour fasting period. Results of 99 mg/dL or less are considered normal fasting blood glucose levels. Prediabetes levels are between 100 and 125 mg/dL, while 126 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes.
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A second prediabetes screening test measures the level of A1C in the blood. The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. An A1C below 5.7% is considered normal, while results between 5.7% and 6.4% are considered indicators of prediabetes. Meanwhile, an A1C level of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes.
“Some risk factors for prediabetes are modifiable, while others are not,” explains Alexis Harper, APN, advanced endocrinology nurse at Franciscan Health Olympia Fields.
In particular, people who are overweight, smoke, or are over the age of 45 are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes than others. Additional risk factors for prediabetes include:
Prediabetes can be treated with lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication. In fact, positive lifestyle changes—including extra exercise and prioritizing a healthy diet—have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 40-70% after a pre-diabetes diagnosis.
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“Only 5-10% of people with prediabetes develop diabetes each year,” says Harper. “With early treatment and moderate lifestyle changes, the vast majority of patients can return their blood sugar levels to the normal range and effectively delay or prevent a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.”
People with prediabetes can lower their blood sugar levels through exercise and healthier eating habits.
The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week—either walking or other physical activity—for effective prediabetes management.
“We recommend eating a balanced meal with the right amount of carbohydrates and protein and a small amount of fat,” says Harper.
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She recommends dividing your plate so that 1/2 is filled with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with starches, and the last ¼ with lean protein.
Also, since smoking is associated with the risk of diabetes, quitting cigarettes can significantly reduce the risk of developing prediabetes.
Certain drugs used to effectively treat type 2 diabetes, including metformin or a class of drugs known as incretins, may be prescribed to treat prediabetes.
“For patients who have a high body mass index or are unable to exercise – or live in an environment where they have no control over their food intake – changing their diet with medication can help. Lifestyle may be the key to effectively treating prediabetes. – says Harper.
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There is no uniform timeline for reversing prediabetes. For some patients, it may take a few months for blood sugar levels to return to normal, while for others it may take years.
“We repeat the A1C test in our prediabetic patients every three to six months so we can track progress in lowering the A1C,” says Harper.
If you have a risk factor for prediabetes, especially if you are overweight, a current or former smoker, or older than 45, ask your family doctor about prediabetes screening.
With screening and appropriate interventions, prediabetes can be effectively reversed and the development of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented.
On The Doorstep Of Diabetes
Diabetes Prevention Program More than one in three Americans has prediabetes—but many don’t know it. Take control of your health with the Franciscan Health Diabetes Prevention Program. What does an A1c value of 7.1 mean? Are there any symptoms for this stage? Factors that can contribute to an A1c level of 7.1: What to do if your A1c level is 7.1? Medications to improve A1c outcomes
An A1c value of 7.1 percent is considered high and means that 7.1 percent of the hemoglobin in the blood is saturated with sugar. A1c values of 6.5 or higher are considered diabetes.
If your A1c is high, a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medication can help lower the level. The lower your A1c level, the lower your risk of developing more serious complications from diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, nerve and kidney damage, and vision loss.
An A1c of 7.1 may or may not have noticeable symptoms. Typical signs of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, and/or blurred vision.
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Tell your doctor if any of these apply to you to check if further tests are needed.
If your A1c is high, a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medication can help lower the level. For most adults with diabetes, the goal is an A1c of 7% body weight, but the lower the better.
Changing your diet and adopting healthier habits can lower your levels. Lowering A1c:
If diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to control elevated blood sugar, medications can help lower elevated A1c levels to a safer range. If necessary, your doctor and/or nutritionist will work with you to determine which is right for you. Some common diabetes medications: At Iowa Diabetes, we’re here to support you every step of the way on your diabetes journey through research, education, clinical care and technology.
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Iowa Diabetes was founded by Anuj Bhargava, MD, MBA, CDCES, FACP, FACE, whose vision since 1994 was to transform the future of diabetes through clinical research, education and technology.
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