Frequently Asked Questions

27. Why is the A1C test important in managing diabetes?

The A1C test (A-one-C), which used to be called hemoglobin A-1-C or H-b-A-1-C, is a simple lab test that measures your average blood glucose level over the last 3 months. Your health care provider takes a small blood sample to test your A1C.

The A1C is the best test for you and your health care team to know how well your treatment plan is working over time. The test shows if your blood glucose numbers have been close to normal or too high. The higher the amount of glucose in your blood, the higher your A1C result will be, increasing your chances for serious health problems.

You and your health care team should discuss the A1C goal that is right for you. For most people with diabetes, the A1C goal is less than 7. If your A1C number is less than 7, your care plan is probably working and your blood glucose is under good control.

If your A1C is above your target goal, take action. You may need a change in your meal plan, exercise plan, or diabetes medicine to lower your chance of getting diabetes problems like heart disease or kidney damage. Talk with your health care provider about your A1C goal and how to reach it.

Lowering your A1C number -- by any amount -- can improve your chances of staying healthy. You should ask your health care provider for an A1C test at least twice a year.