What is hemoglobin A1C? It is a blood test to detect your average blood sugar in the past 2 to 3 months.

It is usually done

  • To diagnose diabetes.
  • To check if the treatment given is adequate in controlling the sugar levels.

Other names for hemoglobin A1C are "glycated hemoglobin," "HbA1C," or just "A1C."

What should my A1C numbers be? it varies accordingly as

For diagnosing diabetes – If A1C was done to check if you have diabetes, your A1C should be 6 or lesser.

If your A1C is 6.5 or higher, it probably means you have diabetes, but you need to repeat it later.

If your A1C is between 5.7 and 6.4, you are at risk for diabetes. You should adopt measures to prevent Diabetes.eg- Diet control and regular exercise.

When checking how treatment is working –If you are alreday on diabetic medicines and you had an HbA1C test to know your sugar control,your A1C should be 7 or lesser.

Can I do this test at home? It is now possible to buy kits to test your A1C at home. But home testing of A1C is not usually necessary. 

How often should I have an A1C test? That depends on whether you have diabetes and on what your last A1C test showed.

  • If you had an A1C test to check for diabetes and your A1C was less than 5.7 (meaning you do NOT have diabetes), you should have A1C tests done every 3 years.
  • If you had an A1C test to check for diabetes and your A1C was between 5.7 and 6.4 (meaning you do not have diabetes but are at risk for it), you should have A1C tests done every year.
  • If you do have diabetes and your blood sugar is well controlled, you should have A1C tests every 6 months.
  • If you have diabetes and you recently changed treatment plans or you are having trouble controlling your blood sugar, you should have A1C tests every 3 months.

Why do my A1C numbers matter? Studies show that keeping A1C numbers close to normal helps keep people from getting:

  • Diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that can cause blindness
  • Nerve damage caused by diabetes (also called neuropathy)
  • Kidney disease

For people with newly diagnosed diabetes, keeping the A1C close to normal might also prevent heart attacks and strokes in the future.

Do I still need to measure my blood sugar at home? — Blood sugar tests tell you what your blood sugar is from time to time. That's important information to have, because it lets you know if your medications and lifestyle changes are keeping your blood sugar in a safe range.