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Pre Diabetes Glucose Readings and A1c Numbers

By on August 11, 2013

Okay, so you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or maybe you have that sneaking suspicion that you may have it. Several questions that come up include what pre diabetes glucose readings are and what should pre-diabetic A1c numbers be. Both questions require a different answer and a bit of clarification.

Pre Diabetes Glucose Readings

For review, two tests are used to diagnose pre-diabetes. They test your blood glucose level at the moment of the test, not over a period of time like the A1c test.

The Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test is performed after an 8 hour fast, thus it is usually done in the morning.

Normal Fasting Glucose LevelBelow 100 mg/dL
Pre-Diabetes Diagnosis100 mg/dL to 125mg/dL
Diabetes DiagnosisAbove 126 mg/dL

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is conducted a little differently. First, your blood is tested and then a glucose rich drink is consumed. Your blood is then tested again two hours later. The results are interpreted the following way.

Normal Fasting Glucose LevelBelow 140 mg/dL
Pre-Diabetes Diagnosis140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Diabetes DiagnosisAbove 200 mg/dL

Thus, your pre diabetes glucose readings should look similar to the above, from a diagnosis standpoint. However, it is important to note that different labs can provide varying results, so work with your doctor to determine what your individual test results mean.

Pre-Diabetes A1c Numbers

Now, pre-diabetic A1c numbers are used a little bit different. Remember, the A1c is not a diagnosis tool, it is a blood glucose management tool. The A1c test is an average of your blood glucose level over a 90 day period.

This means that your doctor is trying to determine how well you are managing your diabetes or pre-diabetes. Your doctor is not trying to determine if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Because the test is an average reading, it does not tell you what your actual blood glucose level measures on any given day or time.

Nonetheless, A1c results are helpful for managing pre-diabetes. Here are some general guidelines. Again, different labs may produce different results, so all results need to be discussed with your physician.

Normal A1c Level (non-diabetic). Most non-diabetics have an A1c between 4% and 6%. Some doctors like to see a result below 5.5%. Most non-diabetics will be around 5%.

In 2010, the ADA issued new guidelines regarding the A1C test. First, it can now be used as a test to diagnose diabetes. If you have a 6.5 percent level or above, you are considered to have diabetes. If you have a result between 6.0 percent and 6.5 percent, you are considered high risk.

Pre-diabetics and diabetics are advised to keep their A1c below 7%, although some doctors recommend being as close to 6% as possible. Pre-diabetics, with proper exercise, weight management and diet can often achieve results closer to 5%.

A1C Home Test

While not a substitute for a doctor’s visit, there is a new home test for A1C results from Bayer Corporation.

By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed January 2013.