Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)

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What is a HgA1c Test?

The hemoglobin A1c test tells you how much average sugar has been in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months. It is also called HbA1c, the glycated hemoglobin test, and glycohemoglobin. 

This test is kind of like a baseball player’s batting average for the season. One game doesn’t tell you how well a player is doing over the course of their career, and one day’s test results don’t show you how well your body is working as a whole. But because this test is often used to find out if someone has diabetes, people with diabetes need to check this number often to make sure their levels stay in the normal range. It can tell you if you need to change your diabetes medicines or the way you control your blood sugar.

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How the Test Works:

Red blood cells have a protein called hemoglobin. It’s what makes your blood red, and its job is to carry oxygen all over your body.

Glucose is the name for the sugar in your blood. When glucose builds up in your blood, it sticks to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. The A1c test is used to find out how much glucose is bound.

Since red blood cells only live for about 3 months, the test shows how much glucose has been in your blood on average over the past 3 months.

If your glucose levels have been high for the past few weeks, your hemoglobin A1c test will be higher.

Your levels can go down with a combination of diet, exercise, getting rid of toxins, and medicine.

Every 3 months, people with diabetes should get an A1c test to make sure their blood sugar is in the right range. If you have good control of your diabetes, you may be able to go longer between blood tests, but experts say you should still check at least twice a year.

If you have a disease that affects your hemoglobin, like anemia, this test may give you misleading information. Some supplements, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and liver disease are other things that can impact the results of the hemoglobin A1c test.

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