Hemoglobin A1c Test (HbA1c, A1c, Hb1c)

  • Medical Author:
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Type 2 Diabetes: Learn the Warning Signs

Introduction

Home blood sugar (glucose) testing is an important part of controlling blood sugar for people with diabetes. One important goal of diabetes treatment is to keep the blood glucose levels near the normal range of 70 to 120 mg/dl before meals and under 140 mg/dl at 2 hours after eating.

  • Blood glucose levels are usually tested before and after meals, and at bedtime.
  • The blood sugar level is typically determined by pricking a fingertip with a lancing device and applying the blood to a glucose meter, which reads the value. Some of the meters will allow the blood sample to be taken from the arms or other body areas.
  • There are many meters on the market, for example- Accu-Check Advantage, One Touch Ultra, Sure Step and Freestyle. Each meter has its own advantages and disadvantages (some use less blood, have a larger digital readout, or take a shorter time to give you results, etc).
  • The test results are then used to help patients make adjustments in medications, diets, and physical activities.

Since blood glucose levels can fluctuate widely, even frequent home glucose testing may not accurately reflect the degree of success in controlling blood sugar. The hemoglobin A1C test is a valuable measure of the overall effectiveness of blood glucose control over a period of time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/21/2015

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