Blood Sugar Test (Hemoglobin A1C)

A blood sugar test also known as Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c or HbA1c) is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose (also called blood sugar) over the past 3 months. The HbA1c test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.

The HbA1c test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body. The red blood cells are constantly forming and dying in the body, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the HbA1c test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.

The HbA1c test result is reported as a percentage and higher percentage indicates higher blood glucose levels. If you have elevated levels of HbA1c, then it’s a sign of diabetes, a chronic disease that leads to health problems such as nerve damage, kidney disease, or heart disease.

Blood Sugar Test (Hemoglobin A1C)

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When to test

The HbA1c test is performed to diagnose prediabetes and to monitor blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, and you are at the risk of getting diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, the hemoglobin A1c test will help to monitor your glucose levels. Also, if your high blood sugar has led to a kidney disease, then your doctor will suggest you take a Kidney Ultrasound.

    Diabetes symptoms include:


  • Fatigue

  • Blurred vision

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Seizures

  • Fainting spells

  • Change or confusion in the way you behave or talk


  • Your doctor may suggest a Blood Sugar Test if you have:


  • Obesity

  • Heart disease

  • High blood pressure

What is a hemoglobin A1C test?

The Hemoglobin A1C Test test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body. Red blood cells are constantly forming and dying in the body, but typically live for about 3 months. This is why the HbA1c test reflects the average of a person's blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The HbA1c test result is reported as a percentage, with a higher percentage indicating higher blood glucose levels. If you have elevated levels of HbA1c, this is a sign of diabetes, a chronic disease that leads to health problems such as nerve damage, kidney disease, or heart disease.

What is diabetes and how is it related to blood sugar levels?

To understand what diabetes is, you first need to understand the role of insulin in your body. When you eat, your body turns food into sugar or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin. Insulin serves as a "key" to open your cells, allowing the glucose to enter and be used for energy. Diabetes causes this system not to work as well as it should. Your body doesn't make enough or any insulin, or doesn't use insulin efficiently. This leads to uncontrolled increase in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Therefore, monitoring your blood sugar levels is critical to those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

How do you prepare for a blood sugar test?

You do not need any preparation or fasting for this test. Just bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.

When should you take a blood sugar test (HbA1c)?

You should take the blood sugar test if you have the following symptoms of diabetes including fatigue, blurred vision, increased thirst and urination, seizures, fainting spells, change or confusion in the way you behave or talk Sometimes your doctor may also suggest the blood sugar test if you are suffering from one or more of the following health conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure

Why is a blood sugar test performed?

The HbA1c test is performed to diagnose prediabetes, a condition in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, meaning you are at risk of getting diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, the hemoglobin A1c test will help to monitor your glucose levels.

Is there anything that I should be aware of before taking the HbA1c test?

This test is not suitable for diagnosing diabetes in children or gestational diabetes, a kind of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Also, if you have a blood disorder or anemia, the HbA1c test is not advised for diagnosing diabetes. If you have these conditions and are at risk for diabetes, your doctor will suggest different tests.

What can you expect during a hemoglobin A1C test?

A healthcare professional or doctor will draw a blood sample from your arm vein through a syringe. After the needle is inserted into the vein, a sterile tube will be used to collect the blood sample. Insertion and removal of the needle may sting. This process usually takes about five to ten minutes.

What is the follow-up and recovery like for a hemoglobin A1C test?

The follow up and recovery of a Hemoglobin A1C Test is no different than a routine blood draw. There may be some brief soreness at the point where the needle was inserted, but you may resume normal activities shortly after your test.

When will I receive my results?

Once the blood sugar test is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.

What are the potential costs for a blood sugar test?

The cost varies between labs for analysis.

What are the potential risks for a hemoglobin A1C test?

There is very rarely any risk involved while taking the blood sugar test.

Are there related tests to a blood sugar test?

Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a similar blood test which is routinely given at a primary care physician's office. Also, if your high blood sugar has led to a kidney disease, your doctor will suggest you take a Kidney Ultrasound (Renal Ultrasound).

Procedure

A Hemoglobin A1C Test (also known as a blood sugar test) is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose (also called blood sugar) over the past 3 months. The HbA1c test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. The HbA1c test is performed to diagnose prediabetes or to help monitor your glucose levels if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.

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* This is for educational purposes only. LabFinder does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All users should consult with a medical provider in person for any health concerns.