St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    HbA1c

    Glycated hemoglobin; Glycosylated hemoglobin; Hemoglobin - glycosylated; A1C; GHb; Glycohemoglobin

    HbA1c is a lab test that shows the average level of blood sugar (glucose) over the previous 3 months. It shows how well you are controlling your diabetes.

    How the Test is Performed

    A blood sample is needed. Some methods only require a quick finger stick. Others may need a sample of blood from a vein.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    No special preparation is needed.

    How the Test Will Feel

    When the needle is inserted, you may feel a slight pinch or some stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

    Why the Test is Performed

    Your doctor may order this test if you have diabetes. It shows how well you are controlling your diabetes.

    The test may also be used to screen for diabetes.

    Normal Results

    An HbA1c of 5.6% or less is normal.

    The following are the results when the HbA1c is being used to diagnose diabetes:

    • Normal: Less than 5.7%
    • Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
    • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

    If you have diabetes, you and your doctor or nurse will discuss the correct range for you. For many people the goal is tokeep your level at or below 6.5 - 7%.

    Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Abnormal results mean that you have had high blood sugar levels over a period of weeks to months.

    If your HbA1c is above 6.5% and you do not already have diabetes, you may be diagnosed with diabetes.

    If your level is above 7% and you have diabetes, it often means that youris notwell controlled.Your target HbA1c should be determined by you and your health care provider.

    In general, the higher your HbA1c, the higher the risk that you will develop problems such as:

    • Eye disease
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Nerve damage
    • Stroke

    If your HbA1c stays high for a long period of time, the risk for these problems is even greater.

    Ask your doctor how often you should have your level tested. Usually, doctors recommend testing every 3 or 6 months.

    Risks

    Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

    Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

    • Excessive bleeding
    • Fainting or feeling light-headed
    • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
    • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

    References

    American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes--2012. Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;35 Suppl 1:S11-63.

    Buse JB, Polonsky KS, Burant CF. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 31.

    Inzucchi SE, Sherwin RS. Type 2 diabetes. In: Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 237.

    BACK TO TOP

          Self Care

            Tests for HbA1c

            Review Date: 4/29/2012

            Reviewed By: Shehzad Topiwala, MD, Chief Consultant Endocrinologist, Premier Medical Associates, The Villages, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, and David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile