Skip to Main Content

Know Your A1C

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person's average blood sugar over the past 3 months. The A1C test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) on your red blood cells. You do not need to be fasting to have an accurate A1C lab completed.

The A1C provides the “big picture” of overall glucose control. Knowing this number will help guide you and your health care team to successful diabetes management.

Your A1C goal is determined by you and your health care provider.  For someone who does not have diabetes, A1C below 5.7% is considered normal. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C goal of less than 7% for those with diabetes.  Your goal may be slightly higher or lower.

Tips for checking blood sugar:

Test accuracy and comfort are the goals!

  • Keep strips in their original container tightly capped.
  • Store strips out of direct sunlight; avoid very hot or cold temperatures, or high humidity areas (no hot cars or steamy bathrooms).
  • Check the expiration date on the strip container to be sure the strips have not expired.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water before testing.
  • Ensure good blood flow to the fingertip (the warm water helps). Also, hold hand downward, below heart level, and massage or “milk” the finger.
  • Puncture the side rather than the very center of the fingertip for comfort. You can use any of your fingers or your thumbs. Other sites, such as the palm or forearm may be used – ask your educator for instructions.
  • Be sure to get enough blood in the strip.
  • Use the toll free number on the back of your meter if you have any problems or questions regarding the meter or its features.