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Hit Your Diabetes Target: A1C Ranges

Focus on the target, not the bullseye

Veteran hitting his bullseyeIf you have diabetes, you already know how important it is to know your numbers. Along with insulin pumps and glucose strips, the A1C test can help maintain a healthy life. This simple blood test can help you.

Learn more about the test, how to hit your target, and using My HealtheVet to view your results.

What's the A1C test?

An A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes. If you're living with diabetes, the test is also used to monitor how well you manage blood sugar. An A1C test gives you a picture of your average blood sugar level over the past three months. The higher the levels, the greater your risk of developing diabetes complications. But there's no one-size-fits-all goal.

Getting an A1C test

The A1C test is a simple blood test. You don't need to fast for the test, so you can eat and drink normally. Your health care team will recommend how often you should get a test depending upon your medication regimen and treatment goals. If you're having symptoms or if your home monitoring results are concerning, please contact your health care team.

Deciding your target range

Your A1C test results are reported as a percentage. A higher A1C rate means higher blood sugar levels. You'll work with your health care team to choose a healthy blood glucose range. Your target range will be based on your age, lifestyle, medications, presence or absence of diabetes complications, as well as other health goals you have. Your ideal range will be a shared decision between you and your health care team. 

Aim to keep your test number in these ranges by following your diet, exercise, and medication. You aren't looking for a bullseye every time, but you do want to hit that target. And remember, your goal range can always be reevaluated to meet your needs and preferences.

Help yourself hit your target

Maintaining a healthy weight can sometimes be tricky and having diabetes doesn't make it any easier. The amount of food you eat and your physical activity doesn't only affect your weight, it also affects your blood sugar. To fight weight gain, follow these simple ways to build your healthy eating plan and these tips to exercise regularly.

Know your medication

Having a routine can keep your blood sugar steady. Taking medicine for diabetes every day may seem like a lot, but your medication can be a powerful tool to stay in control of your health. Your prescriptions will work better if you track them and take them when you're supposed to. If you have questions about your medication, contact your health care team via Secure Messaging (sign in required).

My HealtheVet and your A1C test

After your A1C test, make sure you record and review your results in My HealtheVet's Vitals. If you have any questions about the test that aren't urgent, use Secure Messaging (sign in required) to ask your health care team.

Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous.

Have you had an A1C test done recently?

Read More

Managing Diabetes: The A1C Test (Veterans Health Library)

The A1C Test and Diabetes (National Institutes of Health)

Diabetes Decision Aid Tools (Veterans Health Library)

Diabetes: Exams and Tests (Veterans Health Library)

Updated August 23, 2021