Reasons, Procedure and Results For HbA1c Blood Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is a HbA1c Blood Test?

The Hemoglobin A1c Blood Test, also known as the HbA1C blood test or the glycosylated hemoglobin, is a blood test recommended for diabetics. This blood test helps in determining the efficacy of the sugar control measures and the medication taken for diabetes. The tests are usually able to find out the efficacy of the control measures for the last three to four months.

When the glucose levels in the blood remain increased for some time, the glucose molecules begin to attach themselves to the hemoglobin. In this test, the blood is tested to examine the amount of hemoglobin that has glucose molecules attached to it.

Over a period of time, red blood cells get recycled and the body produces new ones. However, this entire process takes about four months. This is how the test is able to report the average blood glucose levels in the past four months.

How is it performed?

This is a usual blood test where blood is drawn from a vein and then sent to a laboratory for being tested. The blood test is pretty simple and the results are usually available in as less as six minutes. Since the test doesn't involve any complex procedures, it can also be done using commercially available testing machines.

Why is it performed?

Though the HbA1c test can give an indication of blood glucose levels for the past couple of months, it is necessary in diabetes to monitor blood sugar levels on a regular day to day basis. There are many other commercially available equipments that can help track blood glucose levels on a daily basis and therefore minor adjustments required in the diet or medication can be made accordingly.

Interpretation of Test Results

The result of this test is expressed in terms of relative percentage. The non diabetic range is about four to six percent. However, the test results are different in children and adults. In children who are less than six years of age, the normal range is from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent. For children in the age range of six to twelve, the normal result is eight percent. For teenagers (thirteen to nineteen) the normal result is less than 7.5 percent and for adults, the normal results are less than seven percent.

When the test results are abnormal, it may be an indication of long term complications. When diabetes is not controlled, it can have severe implications for the kidneys, nervous system and eyes.