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The A1c Test

Majid Ali, M.D.

The A1c test for screening, diagnosing, and treating diabetes is a blood test. It is a useful blood test that indicates the average of blood glucose levels during the preceding 80 to 100 days. A1c test measures the percentage of a blood protein that becomes "sticky" due to sugar attached to it. The higher the blood sugar (glucose) level, the larger the percentage of sticky protein. The protein is called hemoglobin and is present in red blood cells.

In healthy people, 5 to 5.5 percent of hemoglobin is sticky (glycated hemoglobin is the scientific term for it). A value of 6.5* or higher on more than two occasions is accepted as a valid criterion for diabetic diagnosis. The red blood cells have a life span of about 120 days and that explains the value of the A1c test in assessing blood glucose levsls over a period of 80-100 days.

The Value and Pitfalls of A1c Test

In general, the A1c test is valuable in monitoring the efficacy of diabetes treatment The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that every diabetic should have an A1C test done a minimum of twice a year, with more frequent testing for those with poor control or changes in treatment. I use this test more often.

A1c test is not reliable for the initial screening for diabetes. There are simply far too many errors made in such testing.

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This information is provided only to provide information, it is never, ever to be used as a self help guideline. Always consult your own health care provider for information or questions on your health! Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of nutritional supplements. These statements about nutritional supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

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