What is a Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test?
A Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. An HbA1c test shows what the average amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin has been over the past three months. It’s a three-month average because that’s typically how long a red blood cell lives.
If your HbA1c levels are high, it may be a sign of diabetes, a chronic condition that can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
What is the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test used for?
An HbA1c test may be used to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels show you are at risk for getting diabetes.
If you already have diabetes, an HbA1c test can help monitor your condition and glucose levels. Your health practitioner may use the HbA1c alone or in combination with other diabetes tests to make a diagnosis. They also use the HbA1c to see how well you are managing your diabetes.
Why do I need an HbA1c test?
This test checks if you currently have an increased amount of blood sugar over a period of three months. Based on the results, you can determine if you may be pre-diabetes or how controlled your diabetes treatment is.
Symptoms of diabetes may include:
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- blurred vision
What do I Need to do to Prepare for the Test?
No special preparation is needed. The food you have recently eaten does not affect the HbA1c test, so you do not need to fast to prepare for this blood test.
What do the Results Mean?
Normal Range (Blood Spot): <6%
Your HbA1c test result is given in percentages. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels have been:
- A normal HbA1c level is below 5.7 percent
- Prediabetes levels are between 5.7 to 6.4 percent. Having prediabetes is a risk factor for getting type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes may need retests every year.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when levels are above 6.5 percent.
Included: 1 finger-stick blood kit to to test Hemoglobin A1c levels