HbA1c test measures the amount of sugar levels in your blood over the past two to three months. Notably, glucose is a type of sugar in your bloodstream that your body uses for energy. It sticks to haemoglobin for as long as your red blood cells are alive. RBCs die after three months. So, when your glucose levels increase, more of your haemoglobin gets coated with glucose. So, the test checks the average glucose levels in the past months.
This test is one of the essential health checkups to determine if you have diabetes. Doctors use this test to monitor ongoing treatment as well. The test is measured in three ranges: normal, low and high. This blog will discuss all three HbA1c test ranges and what they mean to you.
What is HbA1c Test Used For?
The test is used to diagnose two conditions:
- Prediabetes: This condition means your sugar levels are borderline. Daily workout and a well-balanced diet can prevent it from becoming type 2 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes: In this condition, your blood glucose gets too high and your body doesn’t make enough insulin to move blood sugar to your cells. This causes your sugar levels to rise in your blood.
Reasons You May Need HbA1c Test
Here are the reasons that indicate the need for HbA1c test:
- Prediabetes: This test will help monitor glucose levels in your blood. You will need the test every 1 or 2 years.
- Diagnosed with diabetes: This test is a regular health checkup for people with diabetes. They should take the test twice every year.
- High cholesterol levels: People with high cholesterol levels are at a risk of having diabetes. They should do this test once every year.
- Diabetes symptoms: You need an HbA1c test if you pee more often and feel excessively thirsty, fatigued and hungry often. Or, if you are losing weight, suffering from blurred vision, and having dry skin, then you must get the test done.
- Sedentary lifestyle: You should take this test if you are less active. This can be a work from home job, usual laziness or impairment. Not having an active lifestyle may contribute to developing diabetes.
- Parents have diabetes: You may likely develop diabetes if one of your parents has it. Keeping sugar levels in check and taking the test once every two years will keep your diabetes in check.
- Overweight: People who are obese may have higher chances of developing diabetes.
What Happens During HbA1c Test?
The test procedure is quite simple. A healthcare professional will take your blood sample from the vein in your arm. They will use a small sterile needle to draw the blood. The collected blood will be put into a test tube and sent to the lab for analysis. You may feel a little sting. This entire process takes about 3-4 minutes.
Is there any risk involved? No, HbA1c test is pretty simple. All you need to do is wear comfortable clothing with access to your arm vein.
Tips to Lower Your HbA1c Levels
Changing your lifestyle habits is the best way to lower your sugar levels.
- Get more active by doing a workout daily
- Eat a balanced diet
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Manage stress
- Use medication
- Follow up with your doctor
What Do HbA1c Test Results Mean?
HbA1c test results come in percentage. The results will include what percentage of your haemoglobin is coated with glucose. To diagnose diabetes, these percentages are commonly used:
- Normal: Below 5.7%
- Prediabetes: Between 5.7% and 6.6%
- Diabetes: 6.55 or higher
If you have a normal HbA1c test result, then you should still get yourself tested every three years.
People with borderline results should be tested once every year. They should also make lifestyle changes and add more movement to their day.
People with diabetes should be tested twice a year to monitor their sugar levels. They should also make lifestyle changes, including exercise and a good diet.
In conclusion, HbA1c test is a vital health examination if you fall into the risk categories like having prediabetes, being diagnosed with diabetes, struggling with symptoms, living a sedentary lifestyle or having a family history of diabetes. This test can provide valuable insights into your health status. You may need the test once or twice a year. Regular monitoring, lifestyle adjustments, and preventive measures can make a significant difference in managing this health condition.