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HbA1c Test
(Hemoglobin A1c )

Facts and definition of HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c)

  • Hemoglobin A1c, often abbreviated HbA1c, is a form of hemoglobin (a blood pigment that carries oxygen) that is bound to glucose.
  • The blood test for HbA1c level is routinely performed in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Blood HbA1c levels are reflective of how well diabetes is controlled.
  • The normal range for level for hemoglobin A1c is less than 6%.
  • HbA1c also is known as glycosylated, or glycated hemoglobin.
  • HbA1c levels are reflective of blood glucose levels over the past six to eight weeks and do not reflect daily ups and downs of blood glucose.
  • High HbA1c levels indicate poorer control of diabetes than levels in the normal range.
  • HbA1c is typically measured to determine how well a type 1 or type 2 diabetes treatment plan (including medications, exercise, or dietary changes) is working.

What is HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c)?

Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying pigment that gives blood its red color and is also the predominant protein in red blood cells. About 90% of hemoglobin is hemoglobin A (the "A" stands for adult type). Although one chemical component accounts for 92% of hemoglobin A, approximately 8% of hemoglobin A is made up of minor components that are chemically slightly different. These minor components include hemoglobin A1c, A1b, A1a1, and A1a2. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a minor component of hemoglobin to which glucose is bound. HbA1c also is sometimes referred to as glycated, glycosylated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/29/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about HbA1c Test (Hemoglobin A1c ):

HbA1C Test - High Levels

Are the test results for your HbA1c levels high? If so, what things have been helpful in lowering your HbA1c blood levels and are they working?

Hemoglobin - Treatment

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Hemoglobin Levels - Experience

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Diabetes Type 1 and 2 Symptoms and Signs

Common symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:

  • Fatigue, or feeling constantly tired
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive eating
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infections (frequent yeast infections of the genitals, dental infections, skin infections, and frequent urinary tract infections [UTIs])
  • Altered mental status (agitation, unexplained irritability, inattention, extreme lethargy, or confusion)
  • Blurry vision

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Retinopathy, Diabetic, Background »

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major medical problem throughout the world.

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