Hemoglobin A1C Test
| What Is The Hemoglobin A1C Test?
It is a relatively new type of diabetes test, which is used to test for prediabetes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Unlike older more complex tests, the A1C test only requires a pin-prick of blood and no fasting beforehand is required. For this reason, an international committee of experts from the American Diabetes Association, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the International Diabetes Federation now recommends that the A1C test be the primary test to diagnose all types of diabetes (except gestational diabetes).
How Does It Work?
The test is used both:
A1C Test Procedure
Can I Do The Test At Home?
Yes, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a home test can be used to help self-monitor your glucose levels (in addition to daily glucose monitoring). Tests sold for this purpose over the counter in pharmacies include A1C Now Self-Check by Bayer which costs around $30. Note: a home test is not recommended for diagnosing or screening for diabetes. It only meant for ongoing monitoring after diagnosis. See, also: are there any home tests for diabetes?
How Often Should I Test?
After diagnosis, how often you need the test depends on which type of diabetes you have and how well you manage your blood sugar. In general the A1C test is recommended:
Understanding Your A1C Test Results
When Used As A Diagnostic Test
If you take the test to diagnose diabetes, the following results can be expected:
When Used For Glucose Monitoring
When used for glucose control it is currently recommended that most diabetics keep their A1C test result below 7 percent. The closer you can keep your levels to 7 percent, without experiencing excessive low blood sugar symptoms (hypoglycemia), the better your diabetes control and the lower your risk of diabetes complications. Here is how A1C results correspond to blood sugar levels:
A1C Test Limitations
• Results are not reliable for patients who have suffered recent significant blood loss; or for patients with conditions that shorten red blood cell survival such as pregnancy, hemolytic anemia or hemolytic diseases.
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