What is a Hemoglobin A1C Blood Test?
The Hemoglobin A1C blood test (sometimes referred to as the HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin or glycohemoglobin test) is commonly used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as prediabetes. The test measures the levels of glucose in your blood (also called blood sugar), over the past 3 months. It is also used to monitor how well people with diabetes are managing their blood sugar levels to protect their health.
Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells. The A1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin that is coated with blood sugar (glucose). The higher the percentage of hemoglobin that is covered with blood sugar, the less your body is able to get needed oxygen to your tissues.
For optimal health, blood-sugar levels should fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.
Elevated blood sugar levels above recommended normal ranges can lead to many health complications such as:
- High blood pressure;
- Damage to the endothelial cells lining your arteries and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels;
- Impair the ability of your white blood cells to fight infections and weaken your immune system.
- Lead to the development of cataracts, joint abnormalities, and lung problems;
- Make your nerves swell, become compressed, and lose their ability to function—usually in the parts of your body farthest from your brain, your hands and feet.
Who should get the Hemoblogin A1C blood test?
High blood sugar and pre-diabetes is an insidious condition because you may not experience any warning signs or symptoms at all. Of the 29 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes, it is estimated that 25% are not aware that they are diabetic or that their health is at risk.
People who are:
- physically inactive;
- have high blood pressure; or
- have a family history of diabetes
are most at risk for developing diabetes and should get the Hemoglobin A1C blood test regularly to monitor their blood sugar levels.
A single test showing elevated blood sugar levels isn't enough to diagnose diabetes, because blood sugar can spike if you are sick or under stress. But if repeated tests show high blood sugar levels, it's a sign that you have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes.
Fortunately, diabetes and the serious related health complications that come with it can be avoided with the knowledge gained from the Hemoglobin A1C blood test combined with dietary changes and regular exercise.
When can I expect my results?
After visiting the lab for a blood draw you can expect your results in 2-10 Business Days.
Where can I get tested?
You can order a A1C Blood test direct through the Personalabs website without having to visit your own doctor first to obtain a prescription for the test. Visit https://shop.personalabs.com/product/hemoglobin-a1c/ to order your test today.
A1C Blood Test Locations Near You
To find a convenient testing location near you, use the state links on this page to find the closest local lab testing location.
There are more than 2,300 lab locations nationwide where you can get tested. However, we cannot provide lab testing in New York, New Jersey or Rhode Island. If you live in one of those states but still want to get tested please use our location finder to find a lab testing location in the closest neighboring state.