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August 9, 2001

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Hammond, Louisiana, USA:

I have type 2 diabetes, and my doctor has informed me that I have been controlling my diabetes quite well as evidenced by A1c's of 6.1%. I cannot remember what the normal range of blood sugar should be. Can you please enlighten me on this?

Answer:

The test you are referring to, I believe, is hemoglobin A1c. This test result tells you an average blood sugar over the last 60-90 days. I would suggest you get a copy of your lab work each time you get it done and compare your result to the normal range. This normal range can vary from lab to lab. 6.1% could be in normal range or it could be slightly outside, depending on what lab values they are using for normal. That said, the target range for people with diabetes is as close to normal as possible without having low blood sugars. Research puts this at a target range of less than 1% above the top range of normal. For example, at our lab, the normal range for hemoglobin A1c is less than 6.5%. That means the target range for our patients is less than 7.5%.

KS

[Editor’s comment: Normal ranges for blood sugars themselves may be found at Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes, but blood sugar targets for people with diabetes might be somewhat different, depending on individual circumstances.

WWQ]