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A1c and Blood Sugar

An A1c test uses a sample of your blood to measure your blood sugar control over the last 3 months.

If your A1c level is higher than your target, take action to lower it.

  • Talk to your doctor about changing your diabetes medicine(s).
  • Start a new exercise program or exercise more often.
  • Make changes to the food you eat.
  • Manage your stress better.

It is important to manage your blood sugar. An A1c test is one tool to help you do this.

What is an A1c Test?

An A1c test uses a sample of your blood to measure your blood sugar control over the last 3 months.

The A1c test counts the number of blood cells with sugar attached to them. Your A1c results are shown as a percent (%).

Why is A1c Important?

The A1c test shows your blood sugar control over the last 3 months. Your blood sugar control is crucial for managing your diabetes.

Your A1c shows how your medicines and healthy habits help control your blood sugar. Ask your doctor what your A1c level is. Ask them what your target A1c level is too.

What Does the A1c Test Tell Me About My Blood Sugar?

A1c (%)Average Blood Sugar (mmol/L)
55.6
67.5
79.4
811.4
913.3
1015.3
1117.2
1219.2

A1c Conversion Chart. Find your A1c level from your blood work. Look for your A1c level in the first column of this chart. Follow that row across to find your average blood sugar.

The results of your A1c test are shown in percent (%). This is different than your glucometer. Your glucometer readings are measured in millimoles of sugar per litre of blood (mmol/L).

Your A1c tells the doctor about your blood sugar control over the past three months. Both you and your doctor can use your A1c to guide how you manage your diabetes.

Use a conversion chart to relate your A1c to your average blood sugar. The conversion chart is easy to use.

  1. Find your A1c level from your blood work.
  2. Follow the same row to find your average blood sugar.

For example, 8% A1c means your average blood sugar over the past 3 months was 11.4 mmol/L.

How Do I Lower My A1c Level?

There are many ways to lower your A1c level. If your A1c level is higher than your target, ask your doctor and healthcare team what you can do to lower it.

To lower your A1c, you must make changes to your life. These changes include:

Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016