Normal HbA1c Levels
HbA1c, also known as glycated hemoglobin or A1C, is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. It shows how much sugar is attached to the hemoglobin proteins in your red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.
HbA1c is used to diagnose and monitor diabetes, as well as to assess your risk of developing diabetes and its complications. Here are some key points to understand about normal HbA1c levels:
For people without diabetes, the normal range for HbA1c is between 4% and 5.6%.
HbA1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate prediabetes, which means you have a higher chance of getting diabetes in the future.
HbA1c levels of 6.5% or higher mean you have diabetes.
If you have diabetes, your target HbA1c level depends on several factors, such as your age, duration of diabetes, comorbidities, life expectancy, and risk of hypoglycemia. Generally, most guidelines recommend a goal of less than 7% for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes.
For pregnant women with diabetes, a lower target of less than 6% or 6.5% is advised to prevent fetal anomalies and complications.
HbA1c does not reflect your daily blood sugar fluctuations or acute changes. It also may be affected by certain conditions that alter your red blood cell lifespan or hemoglobin structure, such as anemia, kidney disease, or hemoglobinopathies.
HbA1c is a simple and convenient test that does not require fasting or special preparation. You can get it done at your doctor’s office or a lab. The frequency of testing depends on your individual situation, but usually it is done at least twice a year if you have diabetes and once a year if you have prediabetes.
Keeping your HbA1c within the normal range can help you prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and its complications. To lower your HbA1c, you need to manage your blood sugar levels by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking your medications as prescribed, monitoring your blood sugar at home, and visiting your doctor regularly.