An HbA1c test can help you and your doctor evaluate your level of glucose control over the previous several weeks. testing for Glycohemoglobin does not replace the blood glucose testing you do at home. Rather, it adds to the information you and your doctor can use to manage your diabetes.
What is the A1c or HbA1c test?
I know the name A1c, also known as HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, or Glycohemoglobin sounds kind of weird but it is a very important test used by doctors to determine the average of your blood sugar levels during the past three months. By the way, HbA stands for hemoglobin A.
Hemoglobin A is a protein found inside your red blood cells and its main function is to carry oxygen throughout your body. When there are high levels of sugar in your blood (glucose), the sugar molecules can stick (glycate) to the hemoglobin A protein molecules.
Once the sugar in your blood sticks to a hemoglobin protein, it typically remains glycated for the life of the hemoglobin A protein — about 120 days. As you can see, the A1c test measures how much sugar in your blood is stuck to hemoglobin A. If your blood sugar levels have been high during the recent weeks, your hemoglobin A1c test will also be high.
What’s a normal result of the Hemoglobin A1c test?
For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 6%. Anything above these numbers means diabetes. The target for people with diabetes is a hemoglobin A1c of less than 7%. You need to be aware that the A1c test can show a false result in cases of anemia.
How is the test performed?
The A1c test is performed by taking a single drop of blood so, as you see, it is a little less painful than a regular blood test. The sample is either analyzed at your doctors’ office or is sent to a laboratory. You don’t need to worry about fasting because food eaten on the same day won’t affect the result.
People with diabetes usually have this test done every three months. If the have their blood sugar level under control, twice a year may be enough.