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A1c Chart: Explanation, Levels, and Categories

Glycated Hemoglobin A1c: 8.9%

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 6, 2023
6 min

Have you recently had an A1c test and are wondering what the results mean? We’ve summarized what a result of 8.9% means in this article.

What Does a Hemoglobin A1c 8.9% Mean?

An A1c test result of 8.9% is considered a high A1c level. The A1c test is a simple blood test that measures how much of the hemoglobin in your red blood cells is saturated with blood sugar. A result of 8.9% suggests that 8.9% of the hemoglobin in your red blood cells is saturated with sugar.

Results of 8.9% or higher on an A1c test indicate diabetes. Elevated levels of A1c indicating prediabetes are usually between 5.7–6.4%, while estimated average glucose levels are between 4–5.6%. A level greater than 8.9% on an A1c test puts you at greater risk of diabetes complications, including vision loss, heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney damage.

Below is a table that summarizes what each A1c range means for your blood sugar.

Normal ✅3.5–5.6
Prediabetes ❌5.7–6.4
Diabetes ❌6.5–15

What Lifestyle Factors Can Lead to A1c 8.9%?

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can lead to an A1c level of 8.9%. These are:

  • A diet high in refined and processed foods, added sugars, and low in fiber
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Age, as A1c tends to increase the older we get
  • Stress
  • Genetics (some families are predisposed to diabetes)
  • Certain medications
  • Adherence to your diabetes treatment plan
  • Chronic disease and inflammation
  • Pregnancy (early or late pregnancy)

Some factors could lead to a false reading of your A1c. These are:

  • Severe anemia
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease
  • Medications including opioids and HIV medications
  • Blood loss or blood transfusions
  • Early or late pregnancy
  • A less common form of hemoglobin that is usually found in people of African, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asian descent, as well as those with blood disorders like sickle cell anemia and thalassemia

As factors like blood disorders, sickle cell anemia, kidney failure, and liver disease may lead to a false reading, you will need to mention them to your doctor and may require follow-up tests.

How to Manage A1c 8.9%

Though an A1c level of 8.9% can be alarming, there are a few ways you can manage it. You will need to employ healthy lifestyle changes combined with your medication plan to lower your A1c levels.

Below, we have summarized a few of the ways that can help you in managing diabetes.

#1 Clean diet

Your diet plays a major role in your A1c level, and eating a cleaner diet can help you to better manage your blood sugar levels. Instead of eating lots of refined and processed foods, you will need to make a few changes to a healthier diet when managing diabetes.

You can begin by consuming fewer refined carbohydrates and more healthy carbs, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. These carbs tend to be higher in fiber and will not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Remember to track your carbohydrate intake to ensure you’re eating the right amount.

You should also add more fiber-rich foods to your diet. Fiber is an important macronutrient for your digestive health, but it also promotes better blood sugar control. Indeed, foods with a higher fiber content tend to have a lower glycemic index.

You could also add healthy fats to your diet. When you have an A1c level of 8.9% or higher, it is essential that you lower the amount of saturated fat you consume. However, healthy fats, like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, can all boost heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. You can find these fats in fatty fish, avocados, and olive oil.

You should use the American Diabetes Association Plate Method1 to determine how much of each food to consume. This means that half your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter should contain a source of lean protein, like fatty fish or chicken, and the last quarter should contain whole grains.

If you’re struggling to work out what to eat or where to start, you could consider the Klinio app. This app supports better prediabetes and diabetes care and can help you find the best foods for your condition.

It contains thousands of diabetes-friendly recipes, provides a place for meal planning and grocery lists, and even offers workouts to get you moving again. It even syncs with your blood sugar meter to give you accurate readings. The Klinio app is an excellent tool for those with an A1c of 8.9%.

  • Personalized and diabetes-safe meal plan
  • An integrated shopping list that matches the meal plan
  • No-equipment home workouts
  • All-in-one health and progress tracker
  • Detailed activity log
Start Klinio Quiz

#2 Weight loss and management

Weight loss and better weight management can both help reduce your blood sugar.2 Indeed, weight loss is often recommended for those diagnosed with insulin sensitivity, prediabetes, and diabetes.

There is evidence that weight loss can not only reduce symptoms of diabetes and lower blood sugar levels, but it may also reduce your risk of developing it in the first place.3

Weight management can feel overwhelming and is a sensitive topic, but better control of your weight can help with managing diabetes, lowering your A1c level, and getting it back within range of average blood sugar levels.

To better manage your weight, you can try eating a healthier and more balanced diet and getting more exercise each day. You should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity each week, which could mean a 30-minute walk each morning.4 You could also try out diabetes-friendly diets, like the ketogenic diet.

#3 Reduce stress

During stressful situations, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. This is to trigger a fight or flight response, but these hormones can actually affect how insulin works in your body. While stress is helpful when we’re in danger, prolonged stress can have a huge impact on your blood glucose levels.

Reducing stress is easier said than done, but it is imperative if you wish to lower your A1c level. To reduce your stress levels, you could try practicing mindfulness, meditating, or taking up yoga. You could also take the time to get outdoors, go for a walk each day, and practice self-care.

If you’re stressed at work, consider taking some time off or speaking with your boss to better manage your workload.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst or feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Ketones in the urine
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing sores
  • Getting multiple infections

It is important to note that those with type 2 diabetes may not have any symptoms.

Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence, whereas type 2 diabetes is much more common in people over the age of 40.

Supplements to Manage A1c 8.9%

The Klinio supplements could help you manage your condition and be added to your treatment plan for disease control. These supplements support natural calorie burn, boost metabolism, and reduce hunger pangs.

They’re designed to promote weight loss while also helping you manage your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They provide the body with the nutrients needed to promote insulin productivity and blood sugar management. They use science-backed ingredients, including cellulose and glucomannan.

  • Boosts metabolism
  • Energy-boosting
  • Burns calories naturally
Check Current Pricing


Can A1c 8.9% be reversed?

While diabetes cannot be cured, there are ways that you can lower your A1c levels. Diabetes is said to be in remission when your A1c level is back below 8.9% for 6 months without medication. You can lower your blood sugar and A1c levels by eating a healthier, diabetes-friendly diet, exercising more, and reducing stress.

Keep in mind that some conditions, medications, and disorders can falsely increase your A1c. These factors include HIV medications, blood loss, blood transfusions, early or late pregnancy, and severe anemia.

What is the A1c 8.9% conversion rate?

Blood sugar is measured in a number of different ways, which leads to confusion. An A1c test result of 8.9% is equal to a blood sugar of 208.73mg/dL.

How often is it recommended to measure glycated hemoglobin?

People with diabetes should get the A1c test every three months to measure glycated hemoglobin. If your diabetes is in good condition, some doctors allow longer periods between each A1c test, but you should still get tested at least twice a year.

  1. Eating right doesn’t have to be boring (n.d.). American Diabetes Association:
  2. Hamdy, O., Ashrafzadeh, S., and Mottalib, A. (2018). Weight Management in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: a Multidisciplinary Real-world Approach. Current Diabetes Reports:
  3. Wilding, J. P. H. (2014). The importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes mellitus. International Journal of Clinical Practice:
  4. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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