A1C Test Goals

The A1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin A1C cells in a person's body have glucose attached to them. The test is used as a way to look at blood glucose control over a period of a few months. You can find out more about this in our Average blood glucose and the A1C test article.

A person who doesn't have diabetes is likely to have an A1C test result of 5.7% or lower, meaning about 5% of the hemoglobin A1C molecules have blood sugar attached to them.1 However, without proper treatment, people with diabetes can have A1C results that are much higher than that.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends A1C test results of less than 7%—and a tighter goal of 6.5% may be appropriate for some people.2

Benefits of lowering your A1C test result

Now for the good news—keeping your A1C test results low can significantly reduce the risk of long-term diabetes complications such as nerve problems, damage to your eyes, damage, kidney disease and heart problems.3

If your A1C blood test result is higher than recommended, it's important to take steps to improve control. Talk to your healthcare team for suggestions and support.

1NIDDK. The A1C test and diabetes. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diagnostic-tes.... Accessed March 15, 2016.

2American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2016; Abridged for primary care providers [position statement]. Diabetes Care. 2016;34(1): 3-21. Available at: http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/1/3.full.pdf. Accessed March 15, 2016.

3American Diabetes Association. Tight diabetes control. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-gl.... Accessed March 15, 2016.