What is HbA1c?
What is HbA1c?
The A1c test—also known as the hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c test—is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.
It helps to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes and also helps manage diabetes.
- Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells which carries oxygen throughout your body.
- The sugar in your blood is called glucose which binds to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
- The A1c test measures how much glucose is bound to the red cells.
- Red blood cells live for about 3 months, so the test shows the average level of glucose in your blood for the past 3 months.
Interpretation of A1c:
- Below 5.7%: Normal
- 5.7 to 6.4: Prediabetes
- 6.5 or higher: Diabetes
It is best to get a baseline A1c test at age 45 or sooner if you are overweight, have a history of gestational diabetes or have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
- -If you have diabetes, get an A1c test at least twice a year if your A1c is at goal or every 3 months if it is not at goal.
- -The target A1c level for people with diabetes is usually less than 7%. The higher the hemoglobin A1c, the higher your risk of having complications related to diabetes. Work with your healthcare provider to set your own individual A1c goal.
Disclaimer: The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or health care advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.