An A1C (glucose) test is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c or glycohemoglobin test. The results of the A1C test can tell you how well you are controlling your diabetes. The test can also be used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes.

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How does the A1C test work?

Sugar attaches to hemoglobin in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to different parts of the body. Red blood cells typically live about three months. An abnormal A1C result means that you have had high blood sugar over a period of weeks to three months.

How are A1C test results reported?

Results are reported as a percentage. Here’s what A1C levels usually mean:

  • Normal blood sugar levels (no diabetes): Less than 5.7 percent
  • Prediabetes: 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent
  • Diabetes: 6.5 percent or higher

Your healthcare provider may report your results as eAG, or estimated average glucose. This number is reported in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), which is the same number you would see on a blood glucose monitor.

If you have anemia, kidney disease or certain blood disorders, your A1C test might give invalid results. Certain medicines can also make the results false. Before taking the test, talk to your healthcare provider about your health conditions and medications.

What should you expect with an A1C test?

The A1C test is a simple blood test. Blood can be drawn from a vein or the test can be done with a finger stick. You don’t need to do anything to prepare for the test. Fasting is not required.

Most healthcare providers recommend people with diabetes get their A1C tested twice a year. If you are at increased risk for diabetes, ask a healthcare provider if you need an A1C test. Contact the nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for a consultation. Minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.

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