Hemoglobin A1C Blood Test
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults in the United States could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue. People with diabetes spend twice as much on healthcare. They are also more likely to suffer blindness, kidney failure, leg and foot amputations, and other conditions. Fortunately, medical advancements in testing, such as the hemoglobin A1C blood test, now make early detection of prediabetes possible.
What Is A Hemoglobin A1C Test?
A hemoglobin A1C, also known as an A1C or HbA1C test, is a commonly prescribed blood test that measures your blood sugar. It differs from a standard blood sugar or glucose test, which reveals the glucose concentration at the time of your test. An A1C test measures how much hemoglobin is bound with glucose in your blood. This percentage of bound hemoglobin estimates your average blood sugar levels over the past three months.
Why Are Blood Glucose Levels Important?
Slightly more than one out of every ten Americans have diabetes, and more than one-third have prediabetes. This increasingly prevalent disease, caused by elevated blood sugar levels, is the seventh-leading cause of death each year. In addition, diabetes contributes to many medical complications such as kidney damage, nerve diseases, vision and hearing impairment, cognitive decline, and amputations.
Why Would My Doctor Order This Test?
Doctors know the importance of early detection and prevention of diabetes. Your doctor might order a hemoglobin A1C test to establish a baseline if you’re over age forty-five, overweight, or have risk factors for type 2 diabetes. You may also need this test to ensure the medication to control your diabetes keeps your blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
What Do The Test Results Mean?
Your A1C test results reveal percentages that indicate the percent of hemoglobin attached to sugar. The more sugar you have in your blood, the more it binds to hemoglobin, which is the blood protein that transports oxygen throughout your body. Your A1C results will reference ranges of percentages used to interpret the findings of your test. Many experts use the following ranges for diagnostic purposes:
- Normal: Below 5.7%
- Prediabetes: 5.7 to 6.4%
- Diabetes: 6.5% or above
It is unlikely that your doctor will offer a diagnosis of diabetes based on a single A1C test. However, if your percentages reflect excess blood sugar, you may need a repeat test. In addition, your doctor may ask you to have other blood tests and health evaluations before deciding on a diagnosis. If your test results show that you have prediabetes, you may be at an increased risk of diabetes. In this case, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise routine.
What Can Affect The Test Results?
The hemoglobin A1C blood test is generally considered a reliable test. However, several factors can affect the results and lead to misleading higher or lower percentages. These factors include:
It is best to inform your health care provider and phlebotomist if you have any medical condition or if any of the above apply to you.
How Can I Prepare For The Test?
The A1C is a simple blood test usually taken from your arm or finger. You don’t need to fast unless you receive these instructions for other tests on the same day.
What Is The Testing Process?
Our mobile phlebotomist will typically take a simple blood sample from a vein in your arm. The procedure begins with placing a band around your upper arm and sanitizing the sample site with a sterile wipe. Next, your provider takes a sample, and the process is usually completed in less than five minutes. After that, you can return to your normal activities without any modifications.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.