A1c Testing and Diabetes Risk Assessments
Our online visits help you get access to modern A1c Diabetes testing. We have a network of providers at our finger tips so once we have your results we’ll consult on the right course of action.
- About 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes
- In 2018, reports show that of the 7.3 million adults who were diagnosed with diabetes were not aware of or did not report having diabetes.
- 10.5% of the US population have diabetes. That’s 34.2 million people of all ages.
- 13% or 34.1 million adults aged 18 years or older have diabetes.
What is A1C?
The A1C test shows you and our MyCare providers a picture of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) levels for the past 2 to 3 months. The test is used to identify prediabetes, determine if you have diabetes or used to monitor the effectiveness of your diabetes treatment. This is an important test.
Some may call the A1C test a hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test.
Hemoglobin /ˈhēməˌɡlōbən/ is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to cells all over the body.
Glucose attaches to hemoglobin in your blood cells.
- The A1C test show how much glucose is attaching to hemoglobin.
- The A1C test shows you the average percentage of blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
- Low hemoglobin levels may indicate that a person has anemia.
A normal A1C level is below 5.7%.
There is a standard Hemoglobin A1C Reference range that all providers use to determine diabetic risk.
- Normal: <5.7%
- Prediabetes: 5.7%–6.4%
If your A1C level is between 5.7 and less than 6.5%, your levels have been in the prediabetes range.
- Diabetes: >6.4%
If you have an A1C level of 6.5% or higher, your levels were in the diabetes range.
Why should a person get the A1C test?
- The A1c test can not only help determine prediabetes but the test can identify if lifestyle changes should be made to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
- It is the primary diagnostic test to find out if someone has diabetes.
- The test is used by providers to monitor diabetics on treatment.
According to the CDC, 50.0% for those diagnosed with diabetes have a A1c value of 7% or higher. The prevalence report shows that 16.3% of adults between 18 to 44 years had A1C levels of 10% or higher, 12.7% of those between 45 to 64 years and 4.3% of those aged 65 years or older
What causes diabetes?
Diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, and prediabetes) has a stronger link to family history and genetics play a role in the onsite of prediabetes and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is when your body doesn’t produce insulin. (less prevalent at 5% of all diabetes cases).
Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t use insulin properly.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar (blood glucose) levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. High blood glucose (Hyperglycemia) can damage the blood vessels that send blood to organs increasing chances for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision and nerve damage.
Having prediabetes is serious because long-term high blood sugar increases your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Most of the risk factors that increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes are the same for prediabetes.
If your family has a history of diabetes, lifestyle can accelerate the development and severity of type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a common trait that influences the onset of diabetes as families tend to have similar eating and exercise habits.
If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you are not guaranteed to develop type 2 diabetes, but you are certainly susceptible. Many researchers confirm that exercising and losing weight can delay or prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- Being overweight is a primary cause for prediabetes and diabetes. The more fat you have inside and around the muscle or belly the more resistant your cells become to insulin. An indication of insulin resistance is a large waist line. Resistance goes up for men with waist lines that are larger than 40 inches and 35 inches for women.
According to the CDC, 89.0% for those diagnosed with diabetes are overweight.
- The less active you are, the more susceptible you are to the development of diabetes. Physical activity like exercise or house chores helps you control your weight by using sugar in the body for energy and makes the body use insulin.
According to the CDC, 38.0% for those diagnosed with diabetes are less active.
- Eating processed or red meats and drinking sugary drinks is associated with a higher risk of prediabetes.
- While diabetes can develop at any age, the chances increases after age 45.
- People of certain races including African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more prone to developing diabetes. It’s unclear as to why among the medical research community.
- Women with irregular menstrual periods (polycystic ovary syndrome) a higher risk of the development of diabetes.
- People who snore or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of insulin resistance.
- Smoking or dipping may increase how to body uses insulin.
68.4% of Americans with diabetes also have high blood pressure.
43.5% of Americans with diabetes also have high cholesterol.
What are the signs of diabetes?
The signs and symptoms of both type 1 and 2 diabetes do not differ.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in younger children and type 2 diabetes is primarily diagnosed in adults.
Early diabetes may not produce any symptoms at all. With the increasing numbers of obesity in children and adolescents has natural influence in the development of type 2 diabetes in young people. Some researchers have found that adults with diabetes may be diagnosed with a form of late onset type 1 diabetes.
- Frequent urinating
- Constant fatigue / tiredness
- Feeling thirsty constantly
- Increased appetite even though you are eating normally
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in fingers and toes (possibly type 2)
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss—even though you are eating more (possibly type 1)
For women, gestational diabetes often has no symptoms, so it’s important for at-risk women (family history or preexisting) to be tested at the right time during pregnancy.
How can you prevent diabetes?
The best preventive tool to stop or delay type 2 diabetes is weight loss or management and increasing daily physical activity. Anyone can get started with weight management by eating fewer calories each day.
The primary goal for weight loss and management is to stay calorie deficit regularly for a period of time. Calories are the units of energy you get from food and drink. When consuming fewer calories the body taps into the fatty areas to find energy to stay running.
There are 3 ways the body uses calories:
- Resting energy expenditure: the calories your body uses functions that keep you alive and alert, such as heart pumping, breathing and blood circulation.
- Effect of food: These are calories the body expends while processes food through digesting, absorbing, and metabolizing nutrients.
- Activity energy expenditure: This is moving or working out. These are the calories you expend during exercise and non-exercise related activities, walking the dog or household chores.
If diet and exercise isn’t enough, your provider will start you on medication. Not everyone with diabetes needs the same types of medication.
Diabetes medication can supply insulin (injectable insulin) or the medication can help the body respond better to existing insulin (oral medication). If prescribed insulin either your body doesn’t produce it or your body doesn’t use it correctly.
Metformin is usually the starting medication for most patients but some people cannot tolerant the medication or have a bad reaction. There are many formulas of oral diabetes medication so you might take one or a few. There are several types of injectable insulin available for your provider to prescribe. Each type starts to work at a different “onset” speed.
- Rapid-acting starts working after 15 minutes, peaks at 1hous and lasts 2 to 4 hours.
- Short-acting starts working within 30 minutes, peaks at 2 to 3 hours and lasts 3 to 6 hours.
- Intermediate-acting starts working within 2 to 4 hours, peaks at 4 to 12 hours and lasts 12 to 18 hours.
- Long-acting starts working several hours after injection with no peak.
How to start A1c testing and diabetes risk assessments?
Our MyCare providers will order a test to a lab near you. Once we have the results, they can make recommendations on lifestyle and diet changes to improve your A1c levels. Routine lab tests are necessary for anyone that has diabetes regardless of whether it is being managed by lifestyle changes or by medication. The MyCare provider will recommend timing of lab tests to make sure your A1c levels are under control.