The hemoglobin A1C test is the common blood test that helps to determine the average blood glucose levels over the recent three months. When you experience prediabetes or diabetes, this test can be used to observe and manage blood sugar levels. High HbA1C test values may lead you to the risk of diabetes and other long-term diseases. In this article, you will get complete information about the HbA1C test. Go through to learn when you need to conduct this test and the normal ranges for A1C levels for a healthy person.
What is Hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is the type of protein that is included in red blood cells. It provides red color to the blood. The function of hemoglobin is to bind oxygen with the blood so that red blood cells can transport oxygen throughout your body.
What is the hemoglobin A1C test?
The hemoglobin A1C test indicates the average amount of blood glucose (sugar) in your blood over the last three months. Glucose is a vital source of energy for your body, which mostly comes from the carbohydrates in the food and drinks you take. It moves to your body’s cells and tissues through the blood. When glucose deposits into your blood, it combines with hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This test helps to measure the quantity of glucose combined with hemoglobin.
A healthcare provider uses the A1C test to:
- Determine prediabetes
- Detect type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Monitor the treatment that you are taking for type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes
Many processes of your body help to maintain blood glucose in a normal range. Insulin is a hormone developed by your pancreas. It is the responsible substance that helps keep blood sugar levels in the recommended range. Since the life span of red blood cells is about three months, therefore, this test tells the average blood glucose levels for the recent three months.
If you have had high glucose levels over the last few weeks, the HbA1C test result will be higher, which generally shows diabetes. It is the disease when your pancreas does not develop any required insulin, or your body loses the ability to utilize insulin.
These are the other names for the Hemoglobin A1C test include:
- Glycated hemoglobin
- Glycohemoglobin test
When do I need the hemoglobin A1C test?
A healthcare provider will ask for an A1C test when you are diagnosed with diabetes. The test will put particular criteria that check how responsive you are in controlling your blood sugar. The number of times you need this test may vary on these factors including
- Type of diabetes
- Treatment plan
- Effectiveness of treatment
- Healthcare provider’s understanding of your medical condition
If you have prediabetes (going towards diabetes), you will take this test at least once a year. On the other hand, if you experience type 2 diabetes, you may need to conduct this test twice a year when you don’t take insulin and your blood sugar levels are in the recommended range. Lastly, you probably get tested three or four times each year if you experience type 1 diabetes.
A healthcare provider may also order an A1C test if you have symptoms of the following conditions and do not diagnose with diabetes, such as:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Fatigue or tiredness
The other possible situations in which you will ask to consider an A1C test if you have the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. These risk factors are:
- Medical history of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy)
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being an overweight
- Not getting involved in any physical activity or exercise
- Having an age above 35
Get an HbA1C test online at a discounted rate to see your A1C levels.
The procedure of Hemoglobin A1C
The procedure for HbA1C is simple and quick. You can place an online order for this test before visiting the laboratory. After reaching the laboratory, a healthcare provider will ask you to sit in front of them and be calm during the test. Your provider will insert a needle into a vein in your arm or pierce your fingertip using a pointed lancet. Your blood sample will be collected from your vein into a test tube and will be kept at the laboratory for examination.
If the blood collects from a finger prick, you will get the result the same day at your doctor’s laboratory after the complete examination. You can consider that this finger-prick test is only used to monitor your treatment plan rather than diagnosis or screening of diabetes.
What is the preparation required for the A1C test?
You may not require any specific preparation for the HbA1C test. You do not have to fast for this test. Therefore, you can eat or drink before the test.
A1C Test Result
The A1C test results are generally in percentages. The higher the percentages, the higher you will have the average blood glucose levels. Following are the test results for diagnosis that include:
- Below 5.7% are considered to be normal
- Between 5.7% to 6.4% show that you have prediabetes
- 6.5 % or above on two individual tests indicate diabetes.
A1C levels below 7% are the priority treatment plan for most adults experiencing diabetes. Low A1C levels than 7% are linked with a low chance of developing diabetes and its related diseases. Your healthcare provider may change the treatment plan for diabetes if your A1C level goes beyond 7%.
A1C and Average Blood Glucose
The laboratories may provide the A1C results as a percentage with the respected estimated average blood glucose (sugar). For example, an A1C level of 6 % tells the 126 mg/dL amount of average blood glucose for the recent three months. Following are the A1C % levels that correlate with blood glucose levels:
Factors Affecting Test Result
The A1C test may affect by specific factors, which include:
- The high amount of blood loss
- Early or delayed pregnancy
- Performing blood transfusion recently
- Disorders in which your body does not produce enough red blood cells (anemias)
- Kidney or liver disease
- Hemoglobin variants (less common forms of hemoglobin). False test results may occur if a less hemoglobin variant is present, which is most common in people of Africa, Southeast Asia, or the Mediterranean. The most common type of hemoglobin protein is hemoglobin A.
- Specific medicines such as opioids or a few HIV medications
You can talk with a professional doctor through online consultation if you have any of these factors and get recommendations for more tests.
HbA1C is one of the useful tests to identify and monitor prediabetes or diabetes. Healthy people contain normal ranges (below 5.7%) for A1C levels. If you have very high A1C levels, it does not always show that you have diabetes. Several factors can alter your test results. A healthcare provider can ask for additional tests to judge your condition. If you experience diabetes, it is also worth noting that your A1C level is the average of your blood glucose levels. By following treatment steps with the guidance of doctors, you can change your A1C levels. Schedule an e-visit from an online provider to manage and control your A1C target.