HbA1c Test Goals
An HbA1c result tells you your average level of blood glucose (blood sugar) over the past 2 to 3 months. It measures the percentage of hemoglobin A1c in the red blood cells which have glucose attached to them. However, it is important to note that HbA1c will not provide you any information about high or low results nor help you with identifying any day to day patterns.
It has been noted that some people with diabetes falsify their blood glucose results in their diary in order to keep their healthcare professional “happy” but HbA1c will easily uncover the true situation.
What Is Hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells. It gives blood its red color, and its job is to carry oxygen throughout your body.
Why is HbA1c done once in 2-3 months?
The average life span of the red blood cell is usually 2-3 months.
A person who doesn't have diabetes is likely to have an HbA1c test result of 5.7% or lower, meaning about 5% of the hemoglobin A1c molecules have blood glucose attached to them.1
The average person with diabetes will have a wide range of HbA1c ranging from 7 up to 12 or 13%. If you have diabetes, the Malaysia Ministry of Health (MOH) recommends HbA1c test result to be the same or less than 6.5%.2
Benefits of lowering your A1C test result
Now for the good news—keeping your HbA1c test results at its optimum level (less than 6.5%) can significantly reduce the risk of long-term diabetes complications such as nerve problems, damage to your eyes, kidney disease and heart problems.3
If your HbA1c blood test result is higher than recommended, it's important to take steps to improve your blood glucose control. Talk to your healthcare team for suggestions and support.
1. NIDDK. The A1C test and diabetes. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diagnostic-tes.... Accessed on 31 Dec 2018.
2. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. 5th Edition (Dec 2015). Malaysia Ministry of Health.
3. American Diabetes Association. Tight diabetes control. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-gl.... Accessed on 31 Dec 2018.
Updated on 7 Jan 2019