What is HbA1c Test? How HbA1c Test Works?

Updated on & Medically Reviewed by Dr Lalitha

HbA1c, also known as Hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin, is a blood test that reflects your average blood sugar (glucose) control over the past 2-3 months. It's an important tool for diagnosing and managing diabetes.

How HbA1c Works?

  • Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body.
  • When glucose (sugar) is present in your bloodstream, it can attach to hemoglobin, forming HbA1c.
  • The more glucose in your blood, the more HbA1c is produced.

Understanding HbA1c Results:

  • HbA1c levels are reported as a percentage.
  • The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following HbA1c targets:
    • Below 5.7%: Normal blood sugar control
    • 5.7% to 6.4%: Prediabetes (indicates increased risk of developing diabetes)
    • 6.5% or Above: Diabetes (indicates the presence of diabetes)

Importance of HbA1c Test:

  • HbA1c provides a more comprehensive picture of blood sugar control compared to a single finger prick test, which only reflects your blood sugar level at that specific moment.
  • By monitoring HbA1c levels, you and your doctor can assess the effectiveness of your diabetes management plan, including medications, diet, and exercise.
  • It helps identify potential problems early on and allows adjustments to be made in your diabetes management plan if needed.

Who Should Get Tested?

  • People with diabetes should get their HbA1c checked regularly, typically every 3-6 months, depending on their individual situation and doctor's recommendations.
  • People with prediabetes may benefit from regular HbA1c monitoring to track their progress and prevent progression to diabetes.
  • In some cases, people without a history of diabetes may also be advised to get an HbA1c test if they have risk factors for diabetes, such as a family history, obesity, or certain medical conditions.

HbA1c is a valuable tool for managing diabetes and preventing complications.
Discuss your HbA1c goals and testing frequency with your doctor for optimal diabetes management.

Accuracy and Limitations of HbA1c Test:

Though HbA1c is an accurate indicator of long-term blood sugar control and a valuable tool for assessing progression or regression of diabetes. However, it's important to understand some nuances:

  • HbA1c reflects average blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. It provides a broader picture compared to finger pricks, which only measure blood sugar at a specific time.
  • Factors like recent blood sugar fluctuations (illness, stress) or changes in red blood cell turnover can slightly affect HbA1c results. However, for most people with diabetes, it remains a reliable indicator.

Progression and Regression:

  • Progression: An increase in HbA1c levels over time might indicate worsening blood sugar control and possible progression of diabetes. This could be due to various factors like medication changes, lifestyle modifications not being effective enough, or underlying health conditions.
  • Regression: A decrease in HbA1c levels suggests improved blood sugar control and potential regression of diabetes, particularly in prediabetes. This can be achieved through effective management with medication, diet, and exercise.

Additional Considerations:

  • Short-term Changes: HbA1c isn't ideal for monitoring rapid blood sugar fluctuations. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems or frequent finger pricks might be more suitable for this purpose.
  • Anemia and Other Conditions: Certain medical conditions affecting red blood cell turnover can slightly alter HbA1c interpretation. Your doctor will consider these factors when evaluating your results.


HbA1c is a powerful tool for tracking diabetes progression or regression. By monitoring HbA1c levels regularly and discussing them with your doctor, you can:

  • Identify Trends: See if your blood sugar control is improving or worsening over time.
  • Adjust Treatment Plans: Your doctor can modify medications, diet, or exercise recommendations based on your HbA1c levels and overall health.
  • Reduce Risk of Complications: Effective diabetes management with HbA1c monitoring helps prevent long-term complications associated with diabetes.

HbA1c is just one piece of the puzzle. A comprehensive diabetes management plan considers your blood sugar levels, symptoms, overall health, and individual needs. Discuss all aspects of your diabetes management with your doctor for optimal results.

Buy Moderate Capsules to Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes After Meals

Also Read the Articles:

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a healthcare professional.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Moderate Buy Now