Explaining A1C in Spanish: What it is & Why it's important

Explaining A1C in Spanish

How to explain A1C tests and results to your patients in Spanish?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about “a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past three months”.

So, if you want to explain the A1C tests and results to your Latino patients, it would be ideal for you to know what words and expressions are better to avoid misunderstandings and give them clear instructions and recommendations.

Here is the A1C in Spanish lesson I taught to the Facebook group:

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Why is it important?

According to May Clinic, the A1C helps to:

  • diagnose pre-diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes,
  • confirm self-testing blood glucose results,
  • evaluate if your diabetes management plan is working or not,
  • see how making healthy changes could help the patient to have a better sugar control:
    • if your patient isn’t taking the medicines or is eating high sugar food, you’re going to know.
    • If your patient is actually taking their medicines and eating healthy food, you’re going to know you need to adjust their treatment.

What’s the A1C normal range?

  • Non-diabetic: less than 5.7%
  • Prediabetic: between 5.7% – 6.4%
  • Diabetic: 6.5% or more if you get similar results in two different appointments.
  • Azúcar no controlada por un tiempo: 8% o más
  • La meta para el control de diabetes: 7% o menos

Vocabulary to remember:

  • Azúcar : Sugar (azúcar sanguíneo  is also possible but not too common).
  • Cambios de estilo de vida  : Lifestyle changes.
  • Diagnosticar : To diagnose.
  • La meta : The goal, the objective. You can use it in any context, except soccer.
  • Plan de tratamiento  : Treatment plan.
  • Promedio actual  Current average (Be careful with this Spanish false friend. The Spanish word “actual” means “current”; whereas the English word “actual” could be translated as “real”, “exacto” or “vigente”).
  • Dieta alta/baja en azúcar  : A high/low sugar diet.
  • Glucosa  : Glucose.
  • Hemoglobina poco común  : A rare hemoglobin
  • Glóbulos rojos  Red blood cells
  • Azúcar no controlada por un tiempo  : A long-term uncontrolled sugar.
  • Sangrado crónico  Chronic bleeding.
  • Anemia  Anemia
  • Transfusión de sangre  Blood transfusion.

Download A1C in Spanish Notes TODAY

How to explain A1C to your patients:

  • The simplest way: es un porcentaje de azúcar (o glucosa) en la sangre durante los últimos dos a tres meses.
  • The serious way: Es una medición del porcentaje de hemoglobina que está cubierta de glucosa durante el último trimestre.

Giving more details about A1C:

  • Talking about the hemoglobin: La hemoglobina es una proteína en los glóbulos rojos de la sangre.
  • Talking about the red blood cells: Los glóbulos rojos son las células de la sangre que entregan oxígeno a las otras células del cuerpo.  
  • Explaining the possible factors that affect the A1C results:
    • El sangrado crónico puede bajar sus niveles de hemoglobina y obtener un falso resultado bajo.
    • Si usted tiene anemia (o deficiencia de hierro), puede obtener falsos resultados altos.
    • Si tiene una hemoglobina poco común (que no es hemoglobina A), puede obtener falsos resultados altos o bajos (this is more common in black, mediterranian and asian people).
    • Si usted ha tenido transfusiones de sangre recientemente, puede obtener falsos resultados bajos.

Karen’s Perspective

Algo que debes saber acerca de la palabra “azúcar” es que podemos usar el femenino (la azúcar) o el masculino (el azúcar) indistintamente. Asimismo, cuando decimos usamos “el azúcar”, podemos usar un adjetivo en femenino o masculino sin problema, por ejemplo:

  • El azúcar alta 
  • El azúcar alto

También podemos hablar de “los azúcares”   y “las azúcares”  , pero estas estructuras las usamos cuando hablamos de nutrientes, dietas o comidas. Por ejemplo:

  • Los azúcares de las frutas.
  • Las azúcares presentes en nuestra dieta.

Study this A1C vocabulary in Spanish with these flashcards

I put together a vocabulary list and set of notes that includes this information in an easily downloadable .pdf – Get your copy for free today!

Download A1C in Spanish Notes TODAY

Keep up the good work speaking responsible Spanish to your patients! Check out our other books, classes & products to help you learn medical Spanish!

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Related lesson: How to Discuss Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Spanish

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