Alternative Names

  1. HbA1C
  2. A1C
  3. Glycated Hemoglobin
  4. Glycohemoglobin
  5. Hemoglobin A1C Test
  6. HbA1c Blood Test
  7. Diabetic Control Index
  8. Glycated Hemoglobin A1C
  9. HbA1C Level Test
  10. Long-Term Blood Glucose Monitoring Test

Who should get a Hemoglobin A1C?

The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months. It is commonly used to diagnose, screen and monitor for pre-diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome of Diabetes. Glucose is a basic sugar that is used for energy but levels of glucose fluctuate rapidly. Consequently, although a Fasting glucose can be useful to assess sugar metabolism, the A1C level gives more of a snapshot over the previous few months. The A1C test is indicated for all adults over the age of 45 and for those under 45 but with risk factors for Diabetes including being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, having had gestational diabetes or with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The A1C test can be used to monitor the benefit of sugar lowering medications including insulin.

Individuals who should consider a Hemoglobin A1C test include those diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, as it is crucial for monitoring long-term blood sugar control. Additionally, anyone at risk of developing diabetes, such as people with a family history of the condition, overweight individuals, or those with a sedentary lifestyle, should also undergo this test. The A1C test provides valuable insights into your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months, making it an essential tool for managing diabetes effectively and reducing the risk of related complications.

Sample Type

  • 0.5 mL of Whole Blood or finger stick

Turnaround Time

  • Note: Result turnaround times are only an estimate and may be subject to change.
  • Test turnaround time for the Hemoglobin A1C test is typically 1-3 business days.

Patient Preparation

  • No special preparation is needed

FAQs:  Essential FAQs on Hemoglobin A1C: Understanding Your Diabetes Test Results

What factors are considered when determining the target hemoglobin A1c number?

When determining the target hemoglobin A1c number for monitoring diabetes, several factors are taken into consideration. These factors are unique to each individual and may vary throughout their diabetes care. The primary considerations include the person’s age, their history of successfully controlling blood glucose levels, and the presence of any diabetic complications. Additionally, the doctor will also assess the individual’s susceptibility to experiencing low blood glucose levels. By evaluating these factors, the doctor can establish a specific and personalized target hemoglobin A1c number that best suits the individual’s needs and promotes effective diabetes management.

How is a target hemoglobin A1c number established for diabetes management?

Establishing a target hemoglobin A1c number for diabetes management involves working closely with your doctor. This process is personalized and takes into account various factors unique to you. Your age, past success in controlling blood glucose levels, and any diabetic complications you may have will be considered. Additionally, your doctor will assess whether you are prone to low blood glucose. Through these evaluations, a specific target hemoglobin A1c number will be determined, which may change over time as part of your diabetes care. This individualized approach ensures that your diabetes management plan aligns with your specific needs and helps you achieve optimal blood glucose control.

How often should hemoglobin A1c tests be repeated for diabetes monitoring?

For effective monitoring of diabetes, the frequency of hemoglobin A1c tests may vary based on individual factors and the specific care plan established in collaboration with your doctor. To determine the ideal frequency, your doctor will take into account various considerations such as your age, previous success in managing blood glucose levels, presence of diabetic complications, and your susceptibility to low blood glucose episodes.

Regular monitoring of hemoglobin A1c levels is crucial in diabetes care, as it helps assess long-term blood glucose control. However, the exact frequency at which these tests should be repeated will be determined on an individual basis. Your doctor will work with you to establish a target hemoglobin A1c number and decide how often it should be measured.

It is important to note that these target numbers and testing frequency may change over time as your diabetes management evolves. Therefore, regular communication with your doctor and ongoing evaluation of your specific needs and circumstances will allow for adjustments to be made as necessary. By actively collaborating with your healthcare provider, you can ensure that the frequency of hemoglobin A1c tests aligns with your unique requirements for effective diabetes monitoring.

What steps are typically taken to monitor and manage diabetes?

To effectively monitor and manage diabetes, several important steps are typically taken. These measures include performing blood glucose tests at home, periodic repetition of hemoglobin A1c tests, and making necessary lifestyle changes. Additionally, medications may be prescribed to aid in controlling blood sugar levels. In monitoring diabetes, it is crucial to work closely with your doctor to establish a specific target hemoglobin A1c number. This goal will be tailored specifically to you and might be adjusted over time based on factors such as age, past success in managing blood glucose levels, and the presence of any diabetic complications. Moreover, your doctor will also consider whether you are prone to experiencing low blood glucose episodes, ensuring a comprehensive approach to diabetes care.

What lifestyle changes might be recommended for someone with prediabetes?

For individuals diagnosed with prediabetes, making certain lifestyle changes may be advised by their healthcare professional in order to decrease the likelihood of developing diabetes or delay its onset. Some of the recommended adjustments may include modifying their dietary habits, incorporating regular physical activity into their routine, and adopting other lifestyle practices. These changes aim to improve overall health and well-being, as well as mitigate the risk factors associated with prediabetes.

What does a diagnosis of prediabetes mean?

A diagnosis of prediabetes indicates that there is a possibility of developing diabetes in the future. The test results show that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered as diabetes. It is a warning sign that you are at an increased risk for developing diabetes in the coming years. In order to mitigate this risk, your doctor may recommend making changes to your diet, exercise routine, and overall lifestyle. These adjustments could help decrease your chances of developing diabetes or potentially delay its onset. Essentially, a diagnosis of prediabetes serves as an opportunity to make proactive changes and take control of your health to prevent or postpone the progression to diabetes.

What additional tests might be ordered if the hemoglobin A1c test suggests diabetes?

If the hemoglobin A1c test suggests diabetes, there are several additional tests that might be ordered to further evaluate and manage the condition. Your doctor or healthcare provider may advise you to perform regular blood glucose tests at home to monitor your blood sugar levels. They may also recommend repeating the hemoglobin A1c test periodically to track your progress in managing diabetes.  Additional tests include the CMP and Microalbumin Tests

In addition to these monitoring tests, lifestyle changes will be essential in managing diabetes. Your healthcare provider may provide guidance on making changes to your diet, exercise routine, and other aspects of your lifestyle to help control blood sugar levels and reduce the impact of the disease.

Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may also prescribe medications to help manage your blood sugar levels. The type of medication and dosage will depend on various factors determined by your healthcare provider, such as your age, past success in controlling blood glucose levels, and any existing complications from diabetes.

It’s important to note that your doctor will work with you to establish a target hemoglobin A1c number, which will be personalized to your individual needs. This target may change over time based on various factors, including your age, past success in controlling blood glucose levels, and any diabetic complications you may be experiencing. Furthermore, your doctor will also consider whether you are prone to low blood glucose and take that into account when managing your diabetes.

Can the hemoglobin A1c test alone be used to diagnose diabetes?

The hemoglobin A1c test alone is not typically used as the sole method for diagnosing diabetes. Although it can be used as a diagnostic tool, doctors often prefer to consider multiple factors before making a definitive diagnosis. In such cases, your doctor might request additional hemoglobin A1c tests or compare the results with other tests that have been conducted. Furthermore, your doctor may also recommend further diagnostic examinations, such as a fasting blood glucose tests, to gather a comprehensive understanding of your condition. By evaluating a combination of test results, doctors can make a more accurate diagnosis of diabetes.

How do doctors interpret hemoglobin A1c test results for diagnostic purposes?

When interpreting hemoglobin A1c test results for diagnostic purposes, doctors consider reference ranges provided by various expert organizations. These organizations typically use the following ranges:

– Normal: A hemoglobin A1c level under 5.7 percent
– Prediabetes: A hemoglobin A1c level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent
– Diabetes: A hemoglobin A1c level at or above 6.5 percent

However, it is important to note that doctors don’t solely rely on the results of one hemoglobin A1c test to diagnose diabetes. They often order follow-up tests or compare the results with other blood glucose tests. Doctors consider the individual’s overall health context before making a diagnosis.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of what the hemoglobin A1c test results mean for you, it is vital to have a thorough discussion with your doctor. They can explain how your specific results fit into the reference ranges, discuss the need for any further tests, and guide you on the next steps for managing your health. Remember, interpreting hemoglobin A1c results requires a comprehensive evaluation done by a medical professional.  Telehealth Consults are available. 

What are the reference ranges used to interpret hemoglobin A1c test results?

The reference ranges used to interpret hemoglobin A1c test results are provided in percentage values. Your test report will include these reference ranges to help assess the significance of your results. The reference ranges are divided into three categories – normal, prediabetes, and diabetes.

For diagnostic hemoglobin A1c testing, various expert organizations use the following reference ranges:

1. Normal: The normal range is considered to be under 5.7 percent. If your hemoglobin A1c test result falls within this range, it indicates that your blood sugar control is generally within a healthy range.

2. Prediabetes: The prediabetes range is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. If your hemoglobin A1c result falls within this range, it suggests that you have higher blood sugar levels than normal, but not yet to the level of diabetes. This can serve as a warning sign to make lifestyle changes and prevent the development of diabetes.

3. Diabetes: The diabetes range is at or over 6.5 percent. If your hemoglobin A1c result is at or above this threshold, it indicates that you have diabetes. This confirms that your blood sugar control is significantly affected and requires appropriate medical attention and management.

These reference ranges are used by healthcare professionals to interpret hemoglobin A1c test results, helping to identify normal blood sugar control, potential prediabetes, or the presence of diabetes.

How are hemoglobin A1c test results interpreted?

Interpreting hemoglobin A1c test results involves understanding the percentages provided in the test report, as well as the reference ranges used to assess these results. Reference ranges consist of different ranges to determine what is considered normal, indicative of prediabetes, or indicative of diabetes.

To interpret the results of a hemoglobin A1c test, doctors take into account the reference ranges in conjunction with an individual’s overall health context. The interpretation may vary depending on whether the test is being used to diagnose or monitor diabetes that has already been diagnosed.

For diagnostic purposes, several expert organizations use the following reference ranges:

– Normal: Under 5.7 percent
– Prediabetes: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
– Diabetes: At or over 6.5 percent

However, it’s important to note that a diagnosis of diabetes is not typically made based solely on the results of a single hemoglobin A1c test. Doctors often rely on additional tests, repeat hemoglobin A1c tests, or comparisons with other blood glucose tests to confirm the diagnosis. Further diagnostic tests may also be ordered.

To fully understand what the results of a diagnostic hemoglobin A1c test mean for an individual, it is crucial to have a detailed discussion with their doctor. This conversation should cover how the results fit into the reference ranges, whether any follow-up tests are necessary, and what steps should be taken to manage their health effectively.

How long does it take to receive hemoglobin A1c test results if it was performed using a fingerstick test?

For a fingerstick hemoglobin A1c test, the results are typically available within a few minutes. After the test, you may either receive an immediate discussion with your doctor regarding the results, or alternatively, your doctor may schedule a separate appointment to go over the results at a later date.

How are hemoglobin A1c test results usually delivered?

Hemoglobin A1c test results are typically delivered in several ways. If the test was conducted in our laboratory, you can expect to receive your results within 1-2 business days. These results may be accessible online through a secure platform (patient portal), or they may be sent to you via postal mail or email. Moreover, your doctor may contact you through email or phone to discuss your results.

How long does it take to receive hemoglobin A1c test results if it was performed in a lab?

The results of a hemoglobin A1c test conducted in our laboratory are typically received within a few business days.

What can I expect after the hemoglobin A1c test?

After undergoing a hemoglobin A1c test, you can expect to return to your usual activities without any significant limitations. In the event that a blood draw is performed, the phlebotomist will place a small bandage over the site where the needle was inserted to ensure that any bleeding stops. It is usually recommended to leave the bandage on for at least an hour. Some bruising may occur at the injection site, which is a normal occurrence.

In the case of fingersticks, which are also sometimes used for the test, they generally do not cause any persistent pain or discomfort. However, if necessary, you can apply a bandage to your fingertip to halt any bleeding that may occur.

Overall, the aftermath of a hemoglobin A1c test is typically straightforward, and you should not experience any major issues or complications.

What happens during the hemoglobin A1c test?

During a hemoglobin A1c test, there are different procedures depending on where the blood sample is collected. If the test is performed using a blood sample from a vein, a phlebotomist will begin by applying a band at the top of your arm to exert pressure on the vein, which helps increase blood flow. They will then use a sterile wipe to clean the area around the vein and proceed to insert a small needle into the vein, typically located in the pit of your elbow. This needle is attached to a tube that collects the blood sample.

While the needle is being inserted or removed, you may experience mild discomfort or a stinging sensation. In most cases, this process takes around five minutes or less to complete.

Alternatively, if the hemoglobin A1c test involves a fingerstick blood sample, your healthcare professional will use a lancet to prick the tip of your finger, which helps release a drop of blood. There may be a slight amount of pain when your finger is pricked. The blood sample is then mixed with a specialized substance and placed into a cartridge that is inserted into a testing machine.

In some cases, the hemoglobin A1c test can be done at home. For this method, you will collect a blood sample from your finger and handle the processing of the sample yourself.

Overall, the procedures for the hemoglobin A1c test include taking a blood sample either from a vein or through a fingerstick, collecting the sample in a tube or cartridge, and then processing it for analysis.

How is the hemoglobin A1c test taken?

The hemoglobin A1c test is taken by collecting a blood sample. Depending on the location, different methods are used to obtain the sample. In a lab setting, the sample is gathered through a needle inserted into a vein. Alternatively, if the test is conducted in a doctor’s office or at home, a fingerstick is performed to obtain the required blood sample for the test.

How much does the hemoglobin A1c test cost?

The cost of a hemoglobin A1c test can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the specific type of test ordered by your doctor, the location where the test is conducted, whether you have medical insurance, and the coverage provided by your insurance provider.  We also run promotions periodically so join our Newsletter.

How can I get a hemoglobin A1c test?

To obtain a hemoglobin A1c test, there are several options available to you. Typically, this test is requested by a doctor who will guide you through the process. Your doctor may refer you to our laboratory where you can have the test conducted. Alternatively, we also offer direct-to-consumer testing and you can purchase the test on our website and come to our Central Florida/Orlando Laboratory or you can Order it from our website to be done at a Quest location near you.

When should I get the hemoglobin A1c test?

To ensure optimal health and early detection of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, it is recommended by the CDC that adults aged 45 and older, or individuals under 45 who are overweight and at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, should undergo a baseline hemoglobin A1c test. If the initial test result is within the normal range, it is advised to repeat the test every three years. However, if the test reveals prediabetes, it is generally recommended to repeat the test as frequently as suggested by your doctor, typically every one to two years. For those diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucial to have an A1c test at least once a year, and more frequently if there are changes in medication or the presence of other health conditions. The frequency of testing can be determined in consultation with your doctor, as they can assess your specific needs based on individual circumstances.

Sample Report

View a sample report by clicking the link below.

HbA1c Example Report

A1C Target Levels

Normal Results: Less than or equal to 5.6%

No need for concern. Your results fall in a normal range. However, it’s not a bad idea to check every once in awhile.

Pre-Diabetes Results: 5.7% – 6.4%

If you have pre-diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. You should also consider getting an A1C test once a year.

Diabetes Results: 6.5%+

To confirm a diabetes diagnosis, your doctor will likely look at the results of two blood tests given on different days — either two A1C tests or the A1C test plus another test, such as a fasting or random blood sugar test

The result of an initial A1C test also helps establish your baseline A1C level. The test is then repeated regularly to monitor your diabetes treatment plan.


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