The A1C test is the primary test which is used for diabetes management. This test is also knowns as hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c or glycohemoglobin test.
- The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
- The A1C test may be used at the first visit to the health care provider during pregnancy to see if women with risk factors had undiagnosed diabetes before becoming pregnant.
- The test can be unreliable for diagnosing or monitoring diabetes in people with certain conditions that are known to interfere with the results.
- The A1C test is reported to help diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
- The standard blood glucose tests used for diagnosing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes—the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and the OGTT—are still recommended. The random plasma glucose test may be used for diagnosing diabetes when symptoms of diabetes are present.
- People with diabetes who are meeting treatment goals and have stable blood glucose levels, are suggested to have the A1C test twice a year.
- Estimated average glucose (eAG) is calculated from the A1C to help people with diabetes relate their A1C to daily glucose monitoring levels.
- People will have different A1C targets depending on their diabetes history and their general health. People should discuss their A1C target with their health care provider.
- Because the A1C test does not require fasting and blood can be drawn for the test at any time of day, experts are hoping its convenience will allow more people to get tested—thus, decreasing the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes.
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