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Hemoglobin A1c

What is it?

Hemoglobin (heem-uh-GLO-bun) A1c (HbA1c) is a blood test to help control your diabetes (di-uh-B-tees). It is also called glycohemoglobin (gli-ko-HEEM-uh-glo-bun) or glycated hemoglobin.

Why do I need it?

Your blood glucose (sugar) levels change during the day. These levels change depending on what you eat, and how much you eat. It also depends on the amount of exercise or activity you do, and on your level of stress. A blood glucose level tells what your sugar is at the moment of the test. This information is very important but it does not give a true picture of blood sugar control. An HbA1c blood test tells what the average blood sugar was during the past 2 or 3 months.

How do I get ready for the test?

Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. The blood test may be done before or after eating.

How is the specimen collected?

A caregiver will put a wide rubber strap around your arm and tighten it. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol. A small needle attached to a special test tube will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. The tube has suction to pull the blood into it. When the tube is full, the rubber strap, needle and tube are removed. The caregiver will press a piece of cotton where the needle was removed. You may be asked to hold the cotton on the site for a few minutes to help stop the bleeding. Tape may then be put over the cotton on your arm.

What do I do after the test?

You may remove the tape and cotton in about 20 to 30 minutes. Call your caregiver to get the results of your test. Your caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.