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    Understanding the A1c test
    Aliwilli posted:
    I am not diabetic but have had some recent health issues. My doctor did blood work and one of the tests was this A1c test. Unfortunatley the receptionist told me that my test result came back as 5.8 and that the 'cut off' is 6 for a diabetes diagnosis. And of course she was unable to provide any other information! If anybody has any information for me I would greatly appreciate it!
    aby_99 responded:
    A1C 5.8 is normal (healthy) range. There is lot of information here on diabetic section (blood test results..etc.) Please check it, you will get the full information.
    DavidHueben responded:

    The A1C test is a blood test that can approximate what your average blood glucose level has been for the previous 90 days.

    Normal, non-diabetic individuals will have an A1C level between 4.0% and 6.0%. As was noted, your A1C level is in the normal range.

    You should be pleased about that.

    Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! -Tommy Smothers
    Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Here is information on the A1C Test

    5.8% IS in the normal range, but under guidelines being considered it also could be considered prediabetes. The following link is where you can read more about what the A1C test and Prediabetes diagnosis discussion means

    So, if you are overweight, obese, have high blood pressure, smoke, now is the time to change those lifestyle habits.
    shank_us responded:
    I agree with Louise.. a1c of 5.8 is not bad but can be considered "on your way" to prediabetes / diabetes, But good news is that with a1c of 5.8 you can proactively get it back down with exercise and lifestyle changes,

    Again,. a1c of 5.8 is not bad.. and many doctors consider it normal and will not do anything for it. I had a1c of 5.9 few years before i was diagnosed as diabetic. I wish at that time i knew what i know know.,..At diagnosis i was at 7.8.

    So, take charge of it even though your doctor may not discuss this further.
    DavidHueben replied to shank_us's response:

    I don't disagree at all. Before I was diagnosed in 2005, I had several A1C results that were in the "high 5's". In fact, I had one A1C that was 6.3%. But, that was maybe 10 years ago or more and before the guidelines for "normal" were lowered from 6.5% to 6.0%.

    Reflecting back on those earlier exams before I was diagnosed, if I am honest about it, my doctor always told me that we needed to watch those numbers carefully and that I needed to lose weight, stay away from so much junk food and beer, reduce my lipid levels, and to increase my physical activity. I was always given a "Step One" nutrition plan, complete with suggested foods to eat and foods to avoid.

    It was really me that didn't take it very seriously. I think he did and gave me pretty good advice.

    In 2005, when my A1C came back at 6.6% and my fasting glucose was 131, my doctor finally told me that he was formally diagnosing me with Type II diabetes. His exact words to me were: "I have been telling you for years that you needed to make changes. Now, it is time for you to get off your butt and do the work." Then, and only then, did I get more serious!!!

    Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! -Tommy Smothers
    krhudson responded:
    Hi Alwilli, 5.8 is not bad, but nearing pre diabetes. Here are the things you should do now to quite possibly beat this before it becomes pre diabetes. Once you get this started keep it up and see if A1C even improves next time around. This may also help you to avoid meds in the future. Everybody is different though and has different spikes from food they eat.

    If you want to really get into it go buy a meter to test bloodsugars. The times to test would be fasting, at meals, 2 hours after a meal and bedtime. Of course, still being away from that pre diabetic stage you would not have to get carried away with this but spring a test on yourself occationally and make sure your blood sugars are staying between 85-100 fasting and 120 after meals.

    Just eat veggies and moderate fruit (the good carbs), with lean meat and chicken, fish etc.... Stay away from breads, pasta, pizza and potatoes unless they are baby reds which are a slower metabolizing carb. Go lite on juices . Milk is fine in moderation, oatmeal in moderation cheese for snacks and yogart in moderation, nuts, apples in moderation (1/2).
    Plenty of green salad is great.

    Read some of Dr. Dansingers articals about dietary needs you can see him on the right side of this page.

    Also, it cannot be stressed enough to add 1 hour vigorous activity a day such as walking brisk or treadmill, steppers, or whatever your body can take based on your prior health history. Weight bearing is extra good for nutrition and insulin absorbtion into the muscles and tissues to assist in keeping excess sugar off the red blood cells and absorbing properly in the body to create energy. Keep your weight down in the range it should be.

    Research plenty on this and get ahead of the curve and come on here and ask many questions if you need to.

    May not be a bad idea to see a dietitian to fine tune a plan.

    Once all of this becomes a habit and lifestyle change you will like it and will not feel craves for food since you would be eliminating the bad carbs that promote hunger.

    Make sure to have protein with each meal. It is hard in the morning sometimes to figure out protein. Morning Star veggie sausages have helped me a lot and I may have 2 eggs a week .

    You are lucky this has been called to your attention very early on to get a head start. Others get caught by surprise with A1Cs over 7.0. No need to be overly concerened but I would take action.

    betaquartz responded:
    I believe that you are going to be alright, if this rise is due to diet. Why do I think that? Because of your presence here to try and understand the situation and be concerned over your test results. Pay attention to all that you have read here, in the posts, the tips and the resources, and make the adjustments you feel you need to. Everyone here has a valid opinion, but in the end you have to decide what is right for you. Remember also that many of us are coming from the place that we may have ignored or sloughed off rises in A1C and fasting blood glucose when we were told we were prediabetic. There is not a one of us that wouldn't want to turn back the clock and make the changes before becoming diabetic. ON the other side though, many of us believe that our diabetes has the positive of making us more responsible for our own health. I do!
    phototaker responded:

    I'm presently at an A1C of 5.8, and have to work hard(not being on medicine right now or ever in three years) to keep it there with diet and exercise. If I eat too many carbs at one time, my blood sugar numbers will rise, no matter how much exercise I do. I definitely consider myself diabetic. I'm hoping to get my A1C down further on my next test.

    I would totally recommend that you start right now being very careful, as you don't want to lose some pancreas function, and then "have" to be on medicine at some future point. I was higher in my A1C when I started.

    Read carefully what people have suggested. Good luck!!
    flutetooter replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Wow, wake up call #2! I thought my goal was to get my A1c down under 6.0 and now reading Louise's (WebMDStaff) post 4th down on this thread, I find that the recommendations being considered are "prediabetic A1c from 5.7 -6.4".

    Back to the drawing board for another tweak on the old carbs! I wanted to lose another 5 pound anyway because I still have a roll of fat right around the middle. Now I view that as a necessity rather than a wish. I'll report back on this project in 5 weeks. (A pound a week.) BTW - I'm on no meds.
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to flutetooter's response:
    You should check with your doctor. The current recommendation for A1C for people with diabetes is is an hemoglobin A1c less than 7%.
    flutetooter replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Thanks Louise. This is confusing as my doctor says I am not even diabetic now so she cannot write a prescription for testing strips any longer. I test once a day now unless I wonder about some feeling that I want to check out, and intend to go toward once a week as long as my A1c stays at 6.0 or below. I do not have lows now and try to keep my immediate after-meal numbers (Not 2 hour post prandials) in the non-diabetic range of 140-165, after a larger meal.
    DavidHueben replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:

    You are correct about seeing your doctor. Although the ADA recommendation is 7.0% or below for diabetics, the AACE's recommendation is 6.5% or below.

    Further, since these are recommendations and not "rules", each clinician may also develop individualized targets for certain patients.

    For example, my doctor insists that I keep my A1C below 6.0% based upon family history, other risk factors, and his belief that a stricter target for me is both achievable and will yield a better outcome.

    Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! -Tommy Smothers
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to flutetooter's response:
    I agree--a lot of confusion with regard to what is and isn't.
    Aliwilli replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Thank you for all of your advice and information! I am only asking on here because I called for test results and the receptionist threw out these numbers but of course could give no further information! And 3 days later, I still have not been able to get the doctor or nurse to return my calls. She casually said "there is no diagnosis for prediabetes, but if there were, you would be it. You are at a 5.8 and the limit is 6". And that was all the information she provided! So thanks to you for some additional information!

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