About the Test
The hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test is a blood test that shows what the average glucose level was over the past two to three months. Glucose is a type of sugar in the blood that comes from what we eat. Our cells use glucose for energy. A hormone called insulin helps glucose get into the cells. If a patient has diabetes, their body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t use it well. As a result, glucose blood’ levels increase due to not being pushed into the cells. Increased blood glucose levels stick to hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells. As the blood glucose levels increase, more hemoglobin will be coated with glucose. The test can show the average glucose level for the past three months because glucose sticks to hemoglobin for as long as the red blood cells are alive(approximately three months). This makes the hemoglobin A1C test an important indicator of long-term glycemic control.
What it Measures
Who it is For
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults over the age of 45, or those under 45 who are overweight and have one or more risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, should get a baseline A1C test. Furthermore, anyone interested in keeping their blood sugars low to improve overall health and wellness will want to occasionally test for hemoglobin A1C.