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My son’s A1C was 6.1, but the doctor said he had highs and lows and that wasn’t good. Isn’t A1C the important thing?

Q: My son is type 1 and 23 years old. His A1c was 6.1, but the doctor said he had highs and lows and that wasn't good. I thought your A1c was important?

You are right in thinking that your son’s A1c is important, but it is not the whole story. A good way to think of an A1c reading is a three-month average of blood sugar levels.

If your average blood sugar level is 120-130mg/dl (which is what an A1c of 6.1 usually represents), that's a good thing. However, if your blood sugar fluctuates from 40mg/dL (which is dangerously low) to 500mg/dL (which is dangerously high) and those extreme highs and lows average out to a blood sugar level of 125mg/dl, that's not a good thing. Basically, big swings in blood sugar levels means that they are not well controlled.

The good thing is that your son is checking his blood sugar levels, and that can be helpful in developing a plan to get your son's blood sugar under control. One other thing your son may want to consider is to have his doctor or another member of his diabetes care team evaluate his blood sugar monitoring technique to make sure the fluctuations are not due to a problem with the testing procedure. Or if your son uses a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM), he may want to check with his trainer (or whoever helps him manage his CGM) to make sure there is no problem with it.

Originally answered by Kirk Spero, RPh

Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.

My son’s A1C was 6.1, but the doctor said he had highs and lows and that wasn’t good. Isn’t A1C the important thing?
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