The ideal A1C level for a diabetic person is dependent upon several factors, including the age, overall health and lifestyle of the individual, as well as the severity of their disease. Until recently, 7 percent was considered the ideal A1C level for all diabetic people, and is still a good average for many. However, today most physicians gravitate towards a more personalized approach when it comes to the best A1C levels for those with diabetes.
An A1C test is currently the most accurate blood sugar test available. This type of test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood that has glucose attached to it, giving a good representation of your average blood glucose levels over the past few months. Combined with the standard daily at-home blood sugar tests, which measure your blood sugar levels at specific points in time, these provide an accurate portrayal of how your diabetes is progressing and how well it is being managed.
A1C tests must be performed by medical professionals. If you are managing your diabetes well and keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level, most doctors will only recommend getting the test done twice a year. However, if you are having problems regulating your blood sugar, your doctor may recommend that the test be administered every three months.
Today, the ideal A1C level for a diabetic is considered to be between 6.5 and 8 percent. The following are the AC1 levels that diabetics should aim to maintain, and details about which types of individuals should aim for which goals:
A1C Level Goals and Guidelines
- 6.5 percent or less: This is an ideal level for those who can maintain it without experiencing hypoglycemic episodes. This goal is good for people who have only been diabetic for a short time, or those with type 2 diabetes who are managing their disease either with lifestyle changes or glucose-lowering medication, or both. However, those with heart or blood vessel diseases should not aim for this low of an AC1 level.
- 7 percent: This level is recommended for most non-pregnant diabetic adults. An A1C level of 7 percent is considered optimal because long-term diabetes-related health complications have been shown to occur with less frequency and severity in those who can maintain that level.
- 7.5 percent: Children ages 0 to 18 who have diabetes should maintain their A1C levels at this percent. This goal is especially important for very young children to maintain as they should try to avoid hypoglycemic episodes at all costs.
- 8 percent and lower: This level is recommended for those who have had trouble managing their disease, who have had problems with severe hypoglycemia in the past, or for those who don’t have many years left to live.
Talk to your doctor about which A1C level is ideal for you. Knowing your ideal A1C level and doing your best to maintain it is critical for continued good health, and avoiding such long-term health issues as nerve damage, eye problems and more.