What is an HbA1C test?

Simply put, this is a test that reflects the 2-3month average of your blood sugar levels.  It is closely related to your risk of getting long-term complications of diabetes. 

More specifically, haemoglobin is a protein found in your red blood cells.  It carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body but also carries glucose (sugar).  Once glucose attaches to the haemoglobin, it is stuck there for the life of the red blood cell (3-4months).  The more glucose (sugar) there is in your blood, the more will end up attached to the haemoglobin.  The HbA1C test tells you how much glucose is attached to your haemoglobin and therefore what your sugar levels have been for the past 2 -3 months.

An HbA1C helps tell you how good your sugar control has been.  Look at the image to see what your HbA1C level reflects about your average daily blood sugar level.

The aim is to stay within the green area (<7%) and if not there, make changes to your lifestyle and consult your doctor with regards to medication changes to ensure you get your HbA1C to target.


How often should you check your HbA1C?

  • Every 6 months in patients with stable control who are meeting their target goal.

  • Every 3 months in patients who are not reaching their target goal, whose medication has been changed or intensified, who are pregnant or thinking of conceiving, patients on insulin pump therapy and in very young patients.