How the A1C Test Helps You Manage Diabetes

This blood test provides a big-picture view of how well you’re managing your blood sugar.

It’s no secret that people with diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar levels daily, but you may be less familiar with the A1C test for diabetes.

The hemoglobin A1C test is the best way to gauge how your diabetes is being controlled over a longer-term period. This test is usually done at least twice a year for people with diabetes. The A1C test measures the average blood glucose control over the previous three months. Here’s more about how the A1C test works.

Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. When glucose (a sugar) enters the body, it attaches to hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound to the hemoglobin in the blood.

The A1C test supplements—not replaces—daily blood glucose tests. Completing both of these tests consistently will give people with diabetes a more accurate picture of how well they are managing their blood sugar and their condition.

In addition to the A1C test, people with diabetes should also take their prescribed medications regularly, schedule and attend all necessary doctor appointments, and get complete eye exams regularly to monitor possible vision problems related to diabetes. And, of course, patients should cultivate healthy lifestyle habits to keep blood sugar levels in check, such as exercising regularly and eating a diabetes-friendly diet.

Here’s more information about managing diabetes in your day-to-day life.

If you have diabetes and your next A1C appointment isn’t on your calendar, ask your doctor about receiving them. The A1C test is an important way to get a 10,000-foot look at how your diabetes treatment plan is working.

Sharon Richter, RD

This video features Sharon Richter, RD. Sharon Richter is a registered dietitian with a private nutrition practice in New York City.

Duration: 1:35. Last Updated On: March 23, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Reviewed by: Mera Goodman, MD . Review date: Jan. 4, 2014
being a healthier you.
Thanks for signing up!