Prediabetes HbA1c: What You Need to Know
Diabetes is a serious and life-threatening condition, and those at risk should take steps to prevent it. Prediabetes can be a warning sign of an impending diagnosis, and understanding HbA1c can help you identify the condition early and make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. Here, we’ll explain what HbA1c is and how it relates to prediabetes.
What is HbA1c?
HbA1c stands for “hemoglobin A1c” and is a measure of long-term blood sugar control. It is calculated from a blood test that measures the amount of glucose that has been attached to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. In people with diabetes, higher than normal levels of HbA1c can indicate poor blood sugar control.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for prediabetes include being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle, having high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or having a family history of diabetes.
How Does HbA1c Relate to Prediabetes?
HbA1c has become an important marker for diagnosing and monitoring prediabetes. A person with prediabetes may have an elevated HbA1c level, which indicates poor blood sugar control over time. This can be an early warning sign that diabetes may be developing if lifestyle changes are not made.
What is a Normal HbA1c Level?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people without diabetes have an HbA1c level below 5.7%, while people with prediabetes should have an HbA1c between 5.7% and 6.4%. If your HbA1c level is higher than 6.4%, this may indicate that you have diabetes. It’s important to discuss your results with your doctor, who can help you make lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How Can I Lower My Risk of Prediabetes?
Making lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. These include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol excessively. Talk to your doctor about strategies you can use to keep your blood sugar under control and reduce your risk of developing diabetes or its complications.
Prediabetes is a warning sign that you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes if lifestyle changes are not made. Understanding HbA1c and what constitutes a normal level can help you identify the condition early on and make the necessary lifestyle modifications to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.