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How does an A1c test work?

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Your red blood cells have something called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from your lungs to cells all over your body. Glucose goes into your red blood cells and coats molecules of hemoglobin. The more glucose you have in your blood, the more coated hemoglobin molecules you have.

The A1c measures how much of your hemoglobin is coated with sugar. The higher your level, the greater your chance for problems down the road. That means your blood sugar control plan isn't working at its best.

From: Do You Know Your A1c Target? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Lab Tests Online: "Hemoglobin A1C."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "The A1C Test & Diabetes."

American Diabetes Association: "A1C and eAG."

Clinical Diabetes: "Your A1C Results: What Do They Mean?"

Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Overview," Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Why it's done," Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Results."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Overview (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on December 27, 2017

SOURCES:

Lab Tests Online: "Hemoglobin A1C."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "The A1C Test & Diabetes."

American Diabetes Association: "A1C and eAG."

Clinical Diabetes: "Your A1C Results: What Do They Mean?"

Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Overview," Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Why it's done," Mayo Clinic: "A1C test: Results."

UpToDate: "Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Overview (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on December 27, 2017

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What does how often you need an A1c test depend on?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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