HbA1c test results are highly personal. The test is a direct result of how well diabetes is managed. Sure, there are limitations, fluctuations are not shown, like having lots of lows or spiking high, but overall care is clearly visible. But what is a good number?
According to the Mayo Clinic in general:
- <5.7% is normal
- 5.7-6.4% is considered pre-diabetes
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following goals for A1C broken down per group:
- Pediatric age <7.5% (58 mmol/mol)
- Non-pregnant adults <7% (53 mmol/mol)
- Preconception and Pregnancy <6-6.5% (48 mmol/mol)
This is a far cry from what Dr. Bernstein recommends for an A1C target, which is actually what the average, non-diabetic also has:
- 4.2-4.6% which corresponds to (72-86 mg/dl)
- an ideal maintained blood sugar level of 83 mg/dl
Dr. Bernstein also states in his book, Diabetes Solution, that “a recent study of “non-diabetics” showed a 28% increase in mortality for every 1 percent increase in A1C above 4.9%”.
It’s concerning that the recommendations are so far apart from each other. Especially when diabetic complications can already occur in the 6% range. Why is the ADA recommending an A1C target that can, and more than likely will, lead to complications? Also, anything higher than 6.4% is already considered a full-diabetic result. Therefore, the ADA is certainly not aiming for Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics to reach a normal range, let alone a pre-diabetic range A1C. Why? An A1C of 6.0% or less is possible and most beneficial. So why not aim for it?
Perhaps I’m preaching to the wrong choir. Because if you’re online reading this and connecting with other T1Ds, chances are, your health matters to you and you want to take care of yourself the best that you can. In the end, I think we all truly want this, but wanting and doing are completely different things.
Here’s how my Instagram poll results turned out:
So I challenge you to motivate yourself, connect with other diabetics, and CARE about yourself! I believe in you!
P.S. As mentioned above, A1Cs are highly personal. This post is in no way, shape, or form, meant to discourage anyone or make anyone feel guilty. It is meant to highlight the flaws of information that we are given, as well as, hopefully, a bit of motivation to take the best care of ourselves as we can!