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Hemoglobin Levels (cont.)

What is the hemoglobin A1c test?

The hemoglobin A1c test is a measure of the approximate glucose level that occurred in a person (usually a person with diabetes) over about a 3 month period by determining the person's per cent of hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c is also known as glycated hemoglobin; it is a form of hemoglobin made upon exposure of hemoglobin in the blood stream to glucose.

  • Hemoglobin A1c test is based on the fact that as blood sugar (glucose) increases, more sugar is bound to hemoglobin, and more glycated hemoglobin is formed.
  • Hemoglobin A1c concentration is related to the average amount of glucose in the blood over about 3 months. Normal amounts of hemoglobin A1c are about 4%–5.9%.
  • Hemoglobin A1c at 6% correlates to an average glucose level over 3 months of 135 mg/dl.
  • Often, the recommended goal for a person with diabetes is 6.5% hemoglobin A1c (representing a glucose level of 152.5 mg/dl on average).
  • Each 1% above 6% hemoglobin A1c represents an increase of 35 mg/dl of glucose.
  • Consequently, detecting an 8% concentration of hemoglobin A1c would equal a glucose level of 135 plus 70, or 205 mg/dl average over 3 months.
  • Concentrations of 8% or more indicate poor glucose control.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine

REFERENCES: Complete Blood Count. Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin A1c.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/12/2014

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