Managing Your Diabetes with Hemoglobin A1C 

Use of hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) (People say "hemoglobin A-one-c")

  • It is a blood test that is used up to four times a year to help persons manage their diabetes
  • HbA1C gives an indication of the average blood sugar over the last 90 days
  • The ideal goal is to have a Hba1c of less than 7%
  • The chart below compares A1C readings with average blood sugar reading
  • For example, if your A1C is 5%, it means on the average your daily blood sugar reading for that 3-month period was around 90
HbA1C and average blood sugars
HbA1c result Average Blood Sugar
5% 90
6% 120
7% 150
8% 180
9% 210
10% 240
11% 270
12% 300


How often you check your blood glucose varies for each individual
  • If your A1c is low, you must be in good control
  • If your A1c is high, the results from your fasting blood sugars may be more important
  • If your A1c is high, you and your health care provider know that your diabetes is not in good control
    • Something needs to change: your diet, your physical activity or your medications
    • Looking at how your blood sugars fluctuate at different times of the day helps your doctor know what type of medication, what dosage and what time the medicine should be given
  • Tests can help manage diabetes
  • If you have diabetes, your goals should be to keep the blood sugar at:
    • Fasting: at or below 80-120 mg/dl
    • After meals: at or below 180 mg/dl
    • Bedtime: between 100-140 mg/dl
  • Look at the chart to see what HbA1C's these blood sugars represent.
Blood glucose and medication
  • The amounts and types of diabetes medication that are prescribed for individuals are based on these tests: HbA1C and blood sugars.
    • Your medications may change if:
    • Your blood sugar gets out of control (is high)
    • Your blood sugar gets too low