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HbA1c Testing: The Gold Standard In Monitoring Blood Sugar Control

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

HbA1c Testing: The Gold Standard In Monitoring Blood Sugar Control

Have you searched the term “HbA1c meaning” after a doctor’s appointment? HbA1c, also known as glycosylated hemoglobin, is a measure of the average blood glucose concentration over the last three months. It is used to diagnose and monitor diabetes and prediabetes in adults. Here’s what you need to know about the HbA1c test in the Philippines. 

What is HbA1c Testing?

HbA1c is a measure of your average blood sugar levels over the last 3 months. It’s not the same as the blood glucose test you take using a glucometer, which can only give a single measurement of your sugar level at a given time. In other words, HbA1c can give you a good idea of how well you’ve been managing your diabetes in the past months.

Why is HbA1c Used?

Your doctor may recommend glycosylated hemoglobin testing if you:

  • Have symptoms of type 2 diabetes
  • Have been diagnosed with prediabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). This is when your blood sugar is higher than average but not high enough to be considered diabetes. 
  • Are pregnant and at high risk for gestational diabetes
  • HbA1c for Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetes

    Searching the phrase “HbA1c meaning,” you’ll learn that HbA1c can diagnose diabetes and establish its severity. It can also be used to assess how well your treatment is working.

    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. 

    For patients with well-controlled diabetes, HbA1c is usually done twice a year (every 6 months). For patients with poorly controlled diabetes, HbA1c is usually done 4 times a year (every 3 months).

    Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test in the Philippines

    Glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c testing is not widely available in the Philippines although some clinics, laboratories, and hospitals offer it to patients. The most common way to diagnose diabetes is through FBS or fasting blood sugar

    In FBS, the patient needs to fast for about 8 hours overnight, go to the laboratory to have their blood sample taken, and wait for the results. A blood sugar level of less than 100mg/dl is normal. 100 to 125 mg/dl may be indicative of prediabetes, and a measurement of 126 mg/dl or higher on 2 separate tests can point to diabetes. 

    Key Takeaways

    Have you recently searched for the phrase “HbA1c meaning?” HbA1c testing measures the amount of glucose attached to your red blood cells with a lifespan of about 2 to 3 months. It can diagnose diabetes and is currently the gold standard in determining the patient’s glycemic control. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to have regular check-ups with your doctor. They will decide the frequency of the diabetes tests based on your individual needs and circumstances.

    Learn more about Diabetes here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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