How to Calculate A1C Levels

By Terry Smith

Hemoglobin A1C, or just A1C, is a glycated hemoglobin found in the plasma of diabetics in much higher concentration than in other individuals. Therefore, it is used as a marker to evaluate the blood sugar levels, and its blood concentration is a very important diagnostic tool in managing the blood sugar levels of diabetics. The test shows the level of glucose sticking to the A1C (red) blood cell. This level turns out to be proportional to the level of glucose in the blood.

Ensure you have a blood glucose (reflectance) meter.

Use the meter to measure the A1C levels in your blood.

Refer to the following chart, which converts your percentage A1C of your average blood glucose control over the course of two to three months of diabetes management. to mg/dl (U.S.) or mmol/dl (Europe):

A1C Level (%) mg/dl mmol/l 12 345 19.5 11 310 17.5 10 275 15.5 9 240 13.5 8 205 11.5 7 170 9.5 6 135 7.5 5 100 5.5 4 65 3.5 3 30 1.5

The first column is the observed A1C glucose level as a percent of total hemoglobin, the second column is glucose level in milligrams per deciliter, and the third column is millimoles per liter. A millimole is 1/1000 of a mole, or 6.023*10^20 molecules, so that mmol/l is a molecular measure that can be converted to mg/dl if desired. Since the molecular weight of glucose is 180, mmol/l can be multiplied by 18 to obtain the level in mg/dl. Alternatively, mg/dl can be divided by 18 to obtain the level in mmol/l.

You can also use the following equation to calculate mg/dl directly:

mg/dl = A1C X 35 –75

Or, you can use this equation to calculate mmol/l directly:

mmol/dl = A1C X 2 – 4.5


The ideal A1C level is about 5%, which equates to about 100 mg/dl. Individuals with values ranging significantly below that run the risk of lethargy or even unconsciousness and death, while individuals with values significantly higher run the risk of a severe electrolyte imbalance, which could also result in death. So remember that if you’re diabetic, regular checks of your A1C level are extremely important. You should perform them regularly and use the results to keep your insulin levels at the optimum. Your life may depend on it.

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