HbA1c: 5.2

What does an A1c level of 5.2 mean?

A hemoglobin A1c (aka HbA1c or A1c) level of 5.2 is considered optimal. 

An A1c of 5.2 means that 5.2% of the hemoglobin in your blood is saturated with sugar. A1c levels between 4 and 5.6 percent indicate good blood glucose control over the last 2-3 months. Maintaining an optimal A1c is important for preventing diabetes and the complications associated with this diagnosis.

How to maintain optimal A1c levels

An A1c level of 5.2% means you have had good blood glucose control over the last few months. A1c often increases with age [4], so it’s important to have your levels checked on occasion, particularly if you’re at greater risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes. 

Groups that are at greater risk for developing prediabetes/ diabetes include: 

  • Adults age 45 or older

  • People of Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander descent

  • Individuals with a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes

  • Those who are overweight or obese

  • People who are physically inactive 

  • Individuals with low HDL (good) cholesterol and/or high triglycerides

  • Those with high blood pressure, or who take medicine for high blood pressure

  • Women who had diabetes during pregnancy or who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Regardless of whether or not you’re at increased risk for prediabetes/ diabetes, having a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle are key to maintaining optimal A1c levels. Here are some things you can do to keep your levels in the green: 

  • Exercise 30-60 minutes most days of the week. 

  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy veggies at every meal, and incorporate a source of lean protein and plant-based fat to assist with blood sugar control. 

  • Avoid refined carbohydrates and too much added sugar. Choose whole-grain carbs such as whole wheat bread/ pasta, quinoa, farro, and steel-cut oats, instead. 

  • Lose excess weight if you are overweight or obese.

  • If you have diabetes, follow your diabetes treatment plan.

  • Minimize stress and get adequate sleep to help balance hormone levels that can affect blood sugar.