Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: Intro

Letter A

Today we’re launching a new blog series called Diabetes ABCs.  Our aim with this series is to provide a growing resource of common diabetes-related terms, define what they mean and explain what role they play in diabetes management.

We’ll feature two letters each week, starting with A and working through to Z.  This series will be constantly expanding, so if there’s a term you’d like us to cover (or one you think we left out) let us know either by leaving a comment or e-mailing us at:  diabetesviews@partners.org.

Without further ado, let’s launch right in with our first letter and term:


A1C (which is short for hemoglobin A1C or HbA1C) is a measurement of your average blood sugar for the past three months, which provides a “big picture” of how well your treatment plan is working.  Sugar in the blood sticks to a protein in red blood cells called hemoglobin, and the hemoglobin is said to be “glycated.”  The A1C test measures how much glycated hemoglobin there is in the blood.  Your care team can use these results to see how well blood sugars have been controlled and make adjustments in your treatment plan if needed.  An A1C less than 7% is usually the goal for a person with diabetes.  Remember though, your A1C is an average blood sugar and doesn’t replace daily blood sugar checks.

(Content reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)