A1C Screening


A1C Screening

Healthcare provider drawing patient's blood

Why the A1C Test is Important

The A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. When sugar enters your blood, it attaches to a protein in your red blood cells called hemoglobin. A1C tells us what percentage of your red blood cells have sugar attached to them.

If you have diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend routine A1C screening. Complications from diabetes are linked to higher A1C levels, so it’s critical to work with your provider to reach and maintain your individual A1C goal.

What to Expect with an A1C Test

No preparation is needed to do the test, including fasting. Your provider will take a small blood sample from your finger or arm, often right in the exam room.

What to Do If Your A1C is Elevated

If your doctor tells you your A1C is elevated, some ways to reduce it include:

  • Exercise. Exercise helps your body use insulin more efficiently so it can process sugar in your blood better. Consistent exercise can lower blood sugar and improve A1C.
  • Take medications as prescribed. Medications are a part of your diabetes management toolbox. When taken as prescribed and combined with healthy lifestyle and behavior changes, medications can be very effective in helping you live your best life.
  • Manage stress. Stress hormones make it harder for insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream, contributing to insulin resistance and increasing your A1C. Chronic stress can also distract you from important self-care. Use our free Stress Relief Guide to explore stress-busters that work for you.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks. Eat regular meals and snacks. Aim for consistent meals and snacks every 3-4 hours, prioritizing fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, healthy fats and proteins.
  • Drink in moderation. Alcohol can inhibit the liver’s ability to properly process blood glucose (sugar), which can lead to hypoglycemia, especially for people taking insulin. Many drinks also contain carbohydrates.
  • Quit smoking. People who smoke are 30-40% more likely to develop diabetes. Smoking also makes managing your A1C harder. Nicotine decreases the effectiveness of insulin, resulting in higher blood glucose levels. We have tools to help you quit

Diabetes is a progressive disease – even when you do everything “right,” your A1C may continue to rise over time. Working with your healthcare team to monitor and make adjustments is critical.;

Questions? Ask-A-Nurse

Do you have questions about living with diabetes – or any other health-related questions? Talk to a Munson Healthcare Registered Nurse for free at 231-935-0951! We’re here for you 24 hours a day to guide you with any health-related concerns. No insurance is required to use this service.