Hemoglobin A1c Test for Diabetes

A1c test is a type of blood test used for detecting the level of sugar in your blood. It is commonly used for diagnosing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. A1c is also known by other names like hemoglobin A1c, glycated hemoglobin and HbA1c. A1c test results will indicate the average blood sugar level in your body for the past 3 months. In particular, this test would measure the level or extent of Hb that is coated with glycated sugar. If the test results are high you are at high risk of developing diabetes.

The biggest advantage of A1c test is that it can be measured even without fasting and at any time of the day, unlike the regular blood sugar test which can be done only in empty stomach. A1c test results would also indicate whether a person is within the target range or not for developing diabetes.

On What Basis A1c Test Is Done ?

Hemoglobin is the name given to the protein molecules present in the red blood cells and some particles of glucose is attached with this Hb. With the help of A1c test one can say about the percentage of glucose attached with Hb for 3 months. Hemoglobin particles are produced constantly in the body and stay for about 3 months and decay. A1c is done based on this theory of creation and death of hemoglobin in the body. Thus the result of this test would state the position of average blood glucose level in the body for the past 3 months.

Hemoglobin A1c

Benefits of A1c Test :

  • The level of sugar in the blood can be assessed for the past 3 months.
  • There is no need for fasting or any kind of preparation for doing this test.
  • A1c test is a valid tool to detect prediabetes (a person being prone to diabetes) and take preventive measures.
  • Diabetes treatment plan can be easily monitored by using this test and insulin dosage can be altered based on the result.
  • The result of A1c provides clue for the doctor about how well the person is responding to diabetic medications.
  • A1c test provides the average blood glucose level in the body for the past 3 months.

Preparation :

No preparation is needed for A1c test and you can eat/drink normally before this test. The lab technician or nurse would insert a thin needle in the vein of your arm to draw few droplets of blood.

Hemoglobin A1c

How Often A1c Is To Be Done ?

  • If you are diabetic but the blood glucose level is well within the limit A1c test is to be done once in six months.
  • For people who have Type 1 diabetes A1c is recommended for 3-4 times a year to check and monitor blood sugar.
  • If you have trouble in controlling the blood glucose level in spite of taking medications A1c test is to be done 4-5 times a year.

Results :

  • Normal A1c level is anywhere from 4.5 to 6% which indicates the person does not have diabetes.
  • A1c level of 8% or more denotes that the person is highly diabetic.
  • If the test result lies anywhere from 5.7 to 6.4% the person is said to be in prediabetic stage. She/he is likely to develop diabetes in the near future.
  • A person who is diabetic getting the result of 7% of less indicates he/she is within the target and treatment is working well.

A1c Test Can’t Be Done For :

  • For people with chronic bleeding problems or blood disorders, since the Hb level would be fluctuating.
  • For people with severe anemia or similar problems, this test cannot be done.
  • In rare cases hb variant would be present in some people other than normal hemoglobin. In that case the test result would be false.
  • For people who have had blood transfusion recently this test will not give the right measure of blood glucose level.

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