How HbA1c Test measures to Diagnose and Maintain Diabetes

How HbA1c Test measures to Diagnose and Maintain Diabetes

How has your blood sugar been lately? Feeling any different? Well, the HbA1c may be just the right test to find those answers. You might have heard of the glycosylated haemoglobin test. That is the medical name of the HbA1c test.

Let us find out more about this test below

What is HbA1c?

HbA1c is something that’s made when the glucose /sugar in your body sticks to your red blood cells. Your body is unable to use this sugar effectively, which leads to it sticking to your red blood cells and eventually building up in your blood. HbA1c is also commonly known as glycated haemoglobin.

A high HbA1c means that there is an increased amount of sugar /glucose in your blood which further down the road may lead to diabetes. Diabetes is an incurable disease which will force you to make lifestyle changes to keep it under control.

What is the HbA1c test?

The HbA1c test, also known as the glycosylated haemoglobin test, is a test conducted to check your blood sugar level. This test gives data on the amount of blood sugar stuck to the haemoglobin in your blood. Haemoglobin is that part of your red blood cell that transports oxygen to all the parts of your body from the lungs.

The HbA1c test should be performed regularly. The test is very important and you should count it in your annual health check-up. HbA1c should be tested at least once a year but if your blood sugar is high or in need of some attention, you must get it checked quarterly.

This test can also be utilized to diagnose diabetes or check if you have prediabetes [close to acquiring diabetes].

What is it used for?

The HbA1c test checks your glycosylated hemoglobin and determines whether you are at risk or not. The test can be used to diagnose:


  • Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition where you are right on the cusp of getting diabetes but still in the safe zone. Fortunately, prediabetes can be reversed and cured. But unfortunately, most people only realise that they have diabetes until it is too late.


  • Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body does not make enough insulin to move the blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. This situation could also be caused due to the inability of the cells to respond to the insulin. Either way, this condition is irreversible, i.e. you cannot cure it.

Once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will have to implement significant changes in your lifestyle to keep it under control.

Understanding the results

Now that you know that the HbA1c test can help you diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, you need to understand what the results of the test point to.

  • If your A1c level is below 5.7 per cent, it means that it is normal.
  • If your A1c level is between 5.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent, it means that you have prediabetes.
  • If your A1c level is above 6.5 per cent, it means that you have diabetes.

The percentage here shows the amount of glucose stuck to your haemoglobin. If your results are over 6.5 per cent, you will be required to take another diabetes test to ensure that you have diabetes or not.

Who needs the test?

Everyone needs to take this test at least once a year but if you have one of the following conditions, you might need to get your glycosylated hemoglobin checked sooner:

If you are under 45 and:

  • Are obese
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol levels
  • Have prediabetes
  • Have a parent or a sibling who has diabetes
  • Have a heart ailment
  • Have had a stroke
  • Are physically active fewer than 3 times a week
  • Had gestational diabetes
  • Gave birth to a baby over 9 pounds

If you are over 45 and:

  • Have prediabetes
  • Are obese
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol levels
  • Have a heart ailment
  • Have had a stroke
  • Have diabetes [to measure the levels]

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Apart from the above-mentioned reasons, there are some other reasons for you to get your glycosylated haemoglobin checked. If you:

  • are feeling very thirsty
  • see dry skin
  • are peeing too much
  • experiencing blurred vision
  • experiencing fatigue
  • having more infections than normal
  • feeling very hungry
  • losing weight without trying
  • experiencing a numb or prickly feeling in your hands and feet
  • have sores that are healing slower than usual.


The glycosylated haemoglobin test helps you diagnose and maintain diabetes. You need to get this test conducted regularly to keep your blood sugar levels in check. This test does not require you to do any fasting beforehand, so you can eat and drink normally. Your healthcare provider may also give you targets in which you need to maintain the glucose levels in your blood.


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