Screens for diabetes by estimating the average blood sugar level over the past three months.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test determines the concentration of hemoglobin A1c circulating in the bloodstream. Hemoglobin A1c is formed when sugar molecules become chemically bound to the oxygen-carrying molecule hemoglobin. The higher the sugar concentration, the more hemoglobin A1c will be found, and the level of hemoglobin A1c provides an extremely accurate estimate of the average blood sugar concentration over the preceding 90 to 120-day period prior to testing.
Why is this important?
In people who have diabetes and pre-diabetes (or “borderline” diabetes), the blood sugar concentration is abnormally elevated. If high enough, over time these high sugar levels can lead to damage of the kidneys, eyes, nerves, heart, and blood vessels.
Unfortunately high blood sugar levels often don’t cause significant symptoms, and it is estimated that half of the 17 million diabetics in the U.S. are unaware that they have this potentially deadly disease.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that all abnormally high blood sugar tests be followed up with more detailed testing (such as the hemoglobin A1c) to determine if diabetes or pre-diabetes are present. This test is also used to monitor the long-term management of known diabetics.
What do the results mean?
Hemoglobin A1c is normally found in the bloodstream, but in low concentrations. Above a certain cutoff however (listed in detail on the test report), the patient is considered pre-diabetic. If the hemoglobin A1c reaches another, higher cutoff, then the patient is considered diabetic.