A1C is a blood test used to measure average blood sugar over the previous two to three months and a crucial step in monitoring how well blood sugar is being controlled in diabetics. The A1C test is also referred to as the HbA1c test, the glycated hemoglobin test or the glycohemoglobin test.
Blood contains hemoglobin that carries oxygen to cells in the body. Sugar in the blood, also known as glucose, will adhere to the hemoglobin and become glycated. An A1C test measures the percentage of glycated hemoglobin in the blood.
An A1C between 4 and 6 percent is considered well-controlled diabetes. More than 7 percent puts diabetics at a higher risk for stroke, neuropathy and diseases of the eyes, heart or kidneys.
Testing A1C is accomplished through analyzing a blood sample. This blood test may be administered at any time without preparation.
It is recommended to have an A1C test every four to six months, depending on how well controlled the diabetes is.
If an A1C is more than 7 percent for an extended period of time, the physician will likely re-evaluate the treatment plan in order to gain better control of the blood sugar.