The HbA1c test measures the percentage of glucose attached to your red blood cells over the last two to three months. The normal result is lower than 5.7%, but this can vary slightly depending on your age, sex, race, ethnicity, pregnancy status, or use of medicines, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
While glycosylated hemoglobin testing can diagnose diabetes (type 1 and 2), note that it is NOT the only way to reach a positive diagnosis. HbA1c, however, is the gold standard in monitoring glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus.
HbA1c Test Results: Significant Findings
The higher your HbA1c level, the more glucose is present in your blood. Anything between 5.7% and 6.4% is indicative of prediabetes. A result of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests is indicative of diabetes.
Other Factors Affecting HbA1c Levels
- Conditions that affect red blood cell production (erythropoiesis), such as iron and B12 deficiencies and chronic liver disease
- Conditions that can affect glycation (bonding of glucose molecule to fats or protein), such as chronic renal failure
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain medicines or supplements
How Often Should I Get an HbA1c Test?
How often you should do HbA1c testing depends on your condition, meaning your doctor will provide you with further instructions. If you already have diabetes, then the doctor may recommend having it every 3 to 6 months. But, of course, that depends on how controlled your glucose levels are.