Understanding A1C Testing Basics

What is the A1C Test?

The A1C test is a blood test used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. This is also the primary tool for diabetes management. A1C testing measures how much your hemoglobin is coated with sugar. Hemoglobin is the red protein found in the blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Other names for the A1C test are hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C results are reported as a percentage that represents the level of blood sugar. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar (glucose) levels.

A1C Results by the Numbers

Diagnosis* A1C Level
Normal below 5.7%
Prediabetes 5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetes below 5.7%

*Any test used to diagnose diabetes requires confirmation with a second measurement unless there are clear symptoms of diabetes.

Prediabetics are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the prediabetic range, the higher the A1C number, the greater the risk of developing diabetes.

Bottom Line
An A1C is a valuable tool that allows Endocrinologists the ability to monitor and track blood sugar levels. For prediabetics, an A1C test and positive lifestyle changes can help to prevent diabetes by altogether, greatly improving the individuals quality of life. For those with diabetes, an A1C testing is a convenient tool for monitoring and managing diabetes.