Cumulative Sugar or A1C level is a reading or biomarker that can determine whether someone has diabetes or is at risk of developing the disease. So, what are the normal levels of cumulative Sugar? And which factors affect its level?
Normal A1C Level
Cumulative Sugar is a measurement that reflects your body’s average blood sugar level over the past three months. It reflects the percentage of blood sugar attached to a protein called hemoglobin, which is present in red blood cells and responsible for oxygen transport in the blood. Therefore, A1C levels increase with higher blood sugar levels.
It is worth mentioning that normal cumulative Sugar levels range from 4% to 5.6% in people who don’t have diabetes. This reading usually indicates that the average blood sugar level over the past two to three months has been within the normal range. However, if the A1C levels are higher, it can indicate that you have diabetes or are at risk of developing the disease.
Detecting A1C Levels
A1C level can be detected through a test called the A1C test, which is a simple laboratory test conducted to measure the percentage of red blood cells that have sugar attached to them.
Prior preparations, such as fasting, are optional for this test. Typically, it takes less than 5 minutes to perform. The healthcare professional will collect a small blood sample from a vein in your arm using a small needle, which is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Reading A1C test results
A1C test results can be explained as the following:
A1C test result
Meaning of this result
Less than 5.7%
This reading means your test result is within the normal range of cumulative sugar levels.
5.7% – 6.4%
This suggests that you have prediabetes. The higher the reading, the higher your risk of developing diabetes.
More than 6.5%
This result means that you have diabetes.
Factors that affect normal A1C level
Several factors can influence cumulative sugar levels, causing them to be higher or lower than the normal range, such as:
Naturally, the average A1C levels tend to increase with age. Therefore, normal cumulative sugar readings may vary depending on the age group. The following table illustrates the increasing average of A1C with aging:
Average A1C in non-diabetics
20 – 39
40 – 59
Older than 60 years
Exposure to psychological and chronic stress stimulates the release of hormones that can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. This can also impact A1C levels in the long term. Similarly, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can affect A1C levels.
Pregnancy affects red blood cells. Which can affect A1C levels in some pregnant women, especially during the second or third trimester.
Certain health issues
Your test result may be higher or lower than normal if you have severe anemia or liver or kidney diseases.
Some medications also affect sugar levels, such as Opioids or medicines prescribed for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Managing abnormal A1C level
It’s essential to consult your physician if you have elevated A1C levels. This is important to determine the cause of this increase and prescribe appropriate treatment for your condition. Additionally, your doctor may suggest the following to lower your A1C level:
Follow a diet
The doctor usually suggests a balanced diet focusing on vegetables and fresh fruits. He will ask you to avoid sugary beverages and foods, such as fruit juices and soft drinks.
It is recommended to do moderate-intensity exercises for 150 minutes per week. However, it is essential to consult with your doctor, especially if you have other health conditions or illnesses.
Lose weight if you are overweight
Consult your doctor about losing weight healthily if you are obese. Since it can help lower A1C levels.