Hemoglobin (Hb) A1c Blood Test
The Hemoglobin A1c Blood Test is used to calculate the average glucose level in the blood over an extended period.
Order this Hemoglobin A1c test to evaluate glucose levels in the blood over the last 2 to 3 months. This test is essential in managing one’s diabetes. Researchers believe that keeping the blood sugar in the body within a normal range can help people with diabetes avoid many of the risks and side effects of diabetes. For many people with diabetes, the goal is to keep the level below 7%. Additionally, a significant benefit of the hemoglobin A1c blood test is that it provides information on overall glycemic health over several months. Other blood tests that evaluate glucose levels are highly sensitive to determining glucose levels at the time of collection, but they do not give information on average glucose blood levels.
Common risks and side effects associated with unmanaged higher A1C levels include:
- Eye disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
Hemoglobin is stored in the red blood cells. When glucose levels are high, the sugar starts to combine with the hemoglobin. It takes the body 8 to 12 weeks to bring hemoglobin A1c levels back to normal. Therefore, if hemoglobin A1c levels are high, there has been a high glucose level in the blood over the last 2 to 3 months.
The Hemoglobin (Hb) A1c Blood Test results are interpreted by looking at the hemoglobin A1c levels in the blood. Hemoglobin A1c results are represented as a percentage of glucose in the blood. Glucose is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Normal results vary based on what test is being used. The following results represent numbers found on the hemoglobin blood test A1c.
- Normal: < 5.7 %
- Pre-diabetes / Increased risk of diabetes 5.7 % - 6.4 %
- Diabetes: > 6.5 %
It is important to note that other underlying health factors or conditions unrelated to diabetes may cause a higher or lower hemoglobin A1c result. Other factors that may affect hemoglobin A1c levels include:
- High-dose aspirin
- Iron, vitamin B12, or folate deficiency
- Chronic kidney disease and its treatment
- Blood transfusion recipients
- Hereditary disorders (sickle cell disease)
- High alcohol consumption
Individuals may order this test to determine their risk of diabetes or to keep track of their blood glucose, allowing their healthcare provider to adjust treatment plans and lower the chances of health problems.
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