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The A1C Test
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
of Health and
What is the A1C test
The A1C test is a blood test that provides
information about a person’s average levels
of blood glucose, also called blood sugar,
over the past 3 months. The A1C test is
sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c,
HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C
test is the primary test used for diabetes man-
agement and diabetes research.
How does the A1C test work
The A1C test is based on the attachment
of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in
red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the
body, red blood cells are constantly forming
and dying, but typically they live for about
3 months. Thus, the A1C test reﬂects the
average of a person’s blood glucose levels
over the past 3 months. The A1C test result
is reported as a percentage. The higher the
percentage, the higher a person’s blood glu-
cose levels have been. A normal A1C level is
below 5.7 percent.
Can the A1C test be used to
diagnose type 2 diabetes and
Yes. In 2009, an international expert com-
mittee recommended the A1C test as one
of the tests available to help diagnose type 2
diabetes and prediabetes.
the traditional blood glucose tests were used
to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes.
The International Expert Committee. International
Expert Committee report on the role of the A1C
assay in the diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes Care.
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