10 factors that affect blood sugar test results

Disease progression, hormonal changes, pregnancy, etc. can affect the results of blood tests to monitor blood sugar levels of patients with type 2 diabetes.

The HbA1c (A1C) test is a blood test used to check a patient’s average blood sugar for 2-3 months and is used to monitor a treatment plan for type two diabetes. For people with diabetes, the A1C is about 7% or less. However, this number can vary from person to person. Here are 10 factors that can affect the A1C test.

Disease progression

Unstable blood sugar even if you stick to the same diet, exercise, and treatment plan is due to the progression of type 2 diabetes. Research by Tulane University Medical Center (USA) published in the National Library of Medicine estimates that A1C levels will increase about 1% every two years with most diabetes treatments. Street. You should talk to your doctor to adjust your medication, make lifestyle changes to better control your blood sugar.

Hormonal changes

Menstruation and menopause cause hormonal changes that affect blood sugar levels. Additionally, physical or emotional stress triggers the release of hormones that can raise blood sugar levels. This causes the A1C to rise. You can improve this with stress-relieving activities like exercise, meditation or yoga, spending time with family and friends, etc.


According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (USA), pregnancy changes the lifespan of red blood cells, causing the A1C to be very low. This usually happens in the early and middle stages of pregnancy. Patients may have different glycemic and A1C goals during pregnancy. You can consult your doctor to adjust the treatment plan more suitable.

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Complications or diseases related to diabetes

Some diabetes-related complications such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) and gum disease can make blood sugar control difficult. Other potential complications include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, eye problems, etc. The A1C test may not be a reliable measure of blood sugar in patients experiencing complications. diabetes and kidney failure. Patients should see their doctor regularly to prevent or manage diabetes complications.


Opioids and some HIV medications can cause falsely high A1C test results. You should talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking and their potential impact on your A1C.

Blood loss or transfusion

The longevity of red blood cells is one of the factors that affect blood sugar levels. That’s because the A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have glucose bound to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Changes in red blood cells can cause A1C changes. If you have recently had a blood loss or transfusion, your A1C result will not be accurate.

The HbA1c blood test is used to check the amount of glucose bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells.  Photo: Freepik

The HbA1c blood test is used to check the amount of glucose bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Photo: Freepik

Anemia that is not treated

A1C results for people with low iron levels are often inaccurate, especially in cases of iron-deficiency anemia. When A1C levels are abnormally high and you suspect anemia, talk to your doctor and get further testing done if needed.

Treatment is no longer effective

Type two diabetes can progress, meaning you need a different treatment to manage your A1C levels. If the treatment is no longer effective and affects your blood sugar, you should talk to your doctor to have it adjusted. You may need to start taking medication if you’re keeping your A1C under control with diet and exercise. A change in the dose of an existing medication, a switch to a new medication, or an oral diabetes medication to insulin may also be necessary.

Natural fluctuations in blood sugar

Blood sugar levels can naturally fluctuate throughout the day. Many factors can affect blood sugar such as carbohydrate intake, physical activity level, sleep quality… Fluctuations in blood sugar affect your A1C. Checking your blood sugar regularly can help you stay at a healthy level.

Other factors

Sometimes, an A1C test can be affected by factors beyond our control including temperature, the equipment used, and even the way the sample is handled in the laboratory. If you suspect a false A1C result, ask your doctor to repeat the test.

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