HbA1C Test

The HbA1c test, also known as the hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin test, is an important blood test that gives a good indication of how well your diabetes is being controlled.

Hemoglobin is an important protein in red blood cells that’s used to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. There are several types of hemoglobin, the most common of which is hemoglobin A. When glucose molecules combine with hemoglobin A in the bloodstream, the resulting molecule is called hemoglobin A1C.

The more glucose in the bloodstream over a given amount of time, the more hemoglobin A molecules become hemoglobin A1C molecules.

How to test and interpret results

To measure a person’s HbA1c level, a blood sample is taken from the patient’s arm, and used to produce a reading. In some cases, such as with HbA1c testing for children, a single droplet of blood may only be required to find out how much haemoglobin A1c is present.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests the following diagnostic guidelines for diabetes:

►  HbA1c below 42 mmol/mol (6.0%): Non-diabetic

►  HbA1c between 42 and 47 mmol/mol (6.0–6.4%): Prediabetes

►  HbA1c 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) or over: Type 2 diabetes

If your HbA1c test returns a reading of 6.0–6.4%, that indicates prediabetes. Your doctor should work with you to suggest appropriate lifestyle changes that could reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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