A glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c) is a blood test that measures the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein found in the blood. Glycosylated hemoglobin means that glucose (sugar) has attached to the hemoglobin protein. The higher your blood sugar is, the more that glucose gets attached to your hemoglobin.
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HbA1c shows how high your blood sugar levels have been during the past three months. This can help your doctor determine how well you are controlling your
diabetes. Your doctor may also use HbA1c to test you for diabetes.
There are no major complications associated with this test.
You will be asked to sit. An area inside your elbow will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. A large band will be tied around your arm. The needle will then be inserted into a vein. A tube will collect the blood from the needle. The band on your arm will be removed. After all the blood is collected, the needle will be removed. Some gauze will be placed over the site to help stop bleeding. You may also be given a bandage to place over the site. The process takes about 5-10 minutes.
Apply pressure to the site until bleeding stops.
It may hurt slightly when the needle is inserted.
Talk to your doctor about what goal is right for you. If your HbA1c levels are high, you may need a change in treatment, such as:
- Changing your medications
- Increasing your level of physical activity
- Modifying your diet
Talk with your doctor about when you should be tested again.
After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Persistent bleeding or discharge
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
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http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/suppl_1/s33.full. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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