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Reasons for Elevated A1c

By Marina Martin ; Updated July 27, 2017

A1c test results represent average blood glucose levels for the prior three months. An elevated A1c results indicate a higher average blood sugar level, putting a diabetic at greater risk for developing serious health complications.

What the Test Measures

When blood sugar is too high, excess sugar bonds to hemoglobin, a substance that helps to transport oxygen throughout your body. This bond is permanent. The A1c test measures what percentage of hemoglobin is bonded to sugar (otherwise known as “glycated”), which can then be correlated to the average blood sugar level for the previous 120 days.

Definition of Elevated A1c

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should aim for an A1c of under seven percent. Elevated A1c levels put you at an increased risk of developing health complications.

Cause of Elevated A1c Levels

The higher your blood sugar levels and the longer your blood sugar remains high, the more excess sugar is present in the blood and the more opportunities this excess sugar has to bond to hemoglobin. In other words, high blood sugar levels lead to elevated A1c levels.

Lowering an Elevated A1c

Lower future A1c results by maintaining tighter control of your blood sugar levels. Check your blood sugar more often to identify spikes you may not currently be aware of.

Other Contributing Factors

Certain conditions, like anemia or kidney disease, and taking certain vitamin supplements, like Vitamin C or E, can impact an A1c result.

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