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If You Have Diabetes, You Should Know Your Hemoglobin A1c

If You Have Diabetes, You Should Know Your Hemoglobin A1c

If you have diabetes, no doubt you know the importance of your blood sugar numbers. Whether your blood sugar levels are high or low or somewhere in between, they are all important. But, do you know about your Hemoglobin A1C number?

What is Hemoglobin A1C?

Hemoglobin A1c (or HbA1c) is a measure of longer term blood sugar control than your blood sugar. While your glucose reading on a glucometer shows you how much sugar is streaming through your blood at that moment, your HbA1c can show you how controlled your blood sugar was over the last 2-3 months.

How does it work?

Hemoglobin is a protein that lives in your red blood cells. Part of the sugar, or glucose, in your blood attaches to part of the hemoglobin. This glycation process happens in all people regardless of if they are a diabetic. All people will have some glycated hemoglobin. But, when there is more sugar in your blood you will have a higher percentage of glycated hemoglobin. The red blood cells hang on to the little piece of glucose once it attaches. Since red blood cells are replaced by your body every four months (but not every red blood cells is replaced at the same time), the test measures how much hemoglobin was glycated over the last 2-3 months. This gives your doctor a better view of your overall blood sugar control.

What is a good number?

For people without diabetes, their HbA1c should be less than 6.5%. For those with diabetes, their HbA1c should be between 7- 8% to be considered well controlled. If your hemoglobin A1c is higher than 8%, your doctor may advise on ways to improve your blood sugar. This is include diet modification, exercise, weight loss, or medication changes.

If you are a diabetic, you should know your recent hemoglobin A1c number. This will give you a good measure of how well you are controlling your blood sugar in between your blood sugar checks.

Weight loss and diet modification are two ways to improve your HbA1c number. Bariatric surgery can help with both weight loss and dietary changes. To learn more about if gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery is right for you, call Dr. Shillingford’s office at (561) 483-8840 and schedule to attend one of his informational sessions. Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, is a board certified surgeon with over 4,000 surgical procedures performed. His practice focuses on bariatric weight loss surgeries including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap band, and revisional surgeries. His weight loss surgery patients frequently come from Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Orlando, and as far away as Jacksonville for Dr. Shillingford’s well respected reputation as a leader in his surgical field and as a compassionate surgeon.

To learn more about diabetes and how it is affected by obesity, check out our page