Dr Aidin Rawshani

HbA1c (A1c) is a fundamental blood test in diabetes

Contents

HbA1c controls most

The blood test is called the HbA1c or A1C test and is used every day in diabetes care. The blood test can also identify prediabetes, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. The blood test can be used to diagnose diabetes, and it is used to monitor how well your diabetes treatment works over time.

HbA1c controls the treatment plan for diabetes

This relatively simple blood test can tell a lot about the individual’s blood sugar. Blood tests reflect your average blood sugar level over the last two to three months. The higher the levels, the higher the risk of developing diabetic complications. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to control HbA1c, but you usually have the test at least twice a year if you meet your treatment goals. If you do not meet your goals or change treatments, you may need to examine HbA1c more often.

So, what do the numbers mean?

Long-term blood sugar (HbA1c) usually varies between 20-100 mmol/mol. As for the numbers, there is no “one-size fits all goals”, target levels for HbA1c may vary depending on each person’s age and other factors, and your goal may differ from someone else’s. The target for most adults with diabetes is an HbA1c less than 48 mmol/mol.

HbA1c is reported either in the unit millimolar per mole (mmol/mol) or as a percentage. The higher the values, the higher the blood sugar levels in the last two to three months.

HbA1c can also be used to diagnose diabetes based on the following guidelines:

  • Prediabetes (prestage of diabetes) is defined as HbA1c levels between 42 mmol/mol and 47 mmol/mol.
  • Diagnosis of diabetes requires HbA1c levels higher than 48 mmol/mol.
  • Long-term blood sugar (HbA1c) lower than 42 mmol/mol is considered normal
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