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Back to Endocrinology Lab tests

Glycated hemoglobin

There are two different tests to measure your blood glucose:

1. The A1C test, which used to be called hemoglobin A-1-C, measures the average blood glucose level over the previous 3 months. It is the best way to know the overall
blood glucose control during this period of time.

2. A blood glucose test is used to measure blood glucose at the specific time it is being checked.

Both tests give a more complete picture of the patient's blood glucose control.

The test shows if the patient's blood glucose numbers have been close to normal or too high. The poorer the glucose control, the higher your A1C result will be, increasing the chances for serious health problems.

A1C target level

For most people with diabetes, the A1C goal is less than 7. If the A1C number is less than 7, then blood glucose control is optimal. An A1C number higher than 8 means that there is a greater risk of developing eye disease, kidney disease, or nerve damage as a result of bad glucose control. Lowering your A1C number by any amount can improve your chances of staying healthy. If your number is higher than 8, ask your health care provider about changing your treatment plan to bring your A1C number down.

How often do I need an A1C test?

Ask for an A1C test at least twice a year. Get the test more often if your blood glucose stays too high or if your treatment plan changes.

What about home testing for A1C?

Home testing for A1C is now possible and some people with diabetes may find it helpful to use this test. Be sure to do it properly and discuss the results with your doctor.

Level of Control A1C

Normal 6 or less
Goal 7 or less
Take action 8 or more

If I test my own blood glucose, do I still need the A1C test?

Yes. The results of each test help you and your health care team to manage your diabetes and get a complete picture of your diabetes control.

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