Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Ohio, USA:

Could you explain to me the A1C? I thought it was an average of the intake of sugar of 3 months, but was recently told something else. What does it average during the 3 month period?


Hemoglobin A1C is an average of the blood sugar over the past 2-3 months. Hemoglobin A1C is a variant of normal Hemoglobin A in red cells which has sugar attached to it. The amount of sugar that attaches is proportional to the blood sugar. The body is continuously breaking down old red cells and making new red cells. The life of an average red cell is approximately 90 days. The amount of Hemoglobin A1C in red cells is therefore roughly proportional to the average blood sugar over the past 3 months.


[Editor's comment: The exact terminology to use to describe this test is not yet completely settled. Doctors might use the terms glycohemoglobin, or hemoglobin A1c, or glycated hemoglobin to describe this test. There also are several abbreviations used, including HbA1c, A1c, A1C, and GHB. Sometimes, we just say "glyco" to refer to the test. And, to make things a bit confusing, if they're not already, technically the stuff that's measured can be either A1c, or A1. WWQ]

Original posting 10 Apr 97


  Home Return to Top

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2015. Comments and Feedback.