An A1C test is a blood test to evaluate your blood sugar (glucose) levels over three months. This type of test is a diagnostic tool for conditions like prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
At Houston Family MD, Ranjit S. Grewal, MD offers complete diabetes care on-site, including A1C testing, to patients in Houston, Texas. Dr. Grewal tailors a diabetes management plan to your needs to reduce your risk for diabetes-related health complications like vision loss, heart disease, and kidney damage.
How A1C tests work
When you eat, the sugar you consume enters your bloodstream and attaches to a protein (hemoglobin) in your red blood cells. While everyone has some sugar attached to red blood cell proteins, you may have more if your blood glucose levels are higher.
An A1C blood test measures the percentage of the cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin to identify diabetes or risk factors for the condition.
When to get an A1C test
You should undergo testing for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes if you’re over 45. You also need A1C testing if you're under 45 and have one or more risk factors for diabetes, including:
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- History of gestational diabetes
If you already have a diabetes diagnosis, you should get an A1C test at least twice a year. We may request more frequent blood testing if we make a change in your medication or if you’re undergoing treatment for other health conditions.
During your initial A1C testing appointment, Dr. Grewal can discuss how often you need an A1C test based on your individual health needs. You should continue to test your blood regularly at home in addition to getting routine A1C tests.
What affects your A1C test results
If you have diabetes, you ideally want an A1C test result to be 7% or less. We can work with you to set an individual A1C goal based on your unique health factors.
Several things can affect the results of your A1C blood test, including:
- Liver failure
- Severe anemia
- Kidney failure
- Blood disorders
- Opioids and other medications
These factors can cause a false-positive diabetes diagnosis, as can temperature changes and handling of the blood sample.
You may also get inaccurate A1C test results if you’re of Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, or African descent because of genetic differences in hemoglobin. For this reason, people with these backgrounds can’t rely on A1C tests alone for diagnosing and managing diabetes and prediabetes.
How to manage diabetes
If your A1C and other blood tests determine you have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, we can help you manage your condition with a customized treatment plan.
Houston Family MD offers several options for managing diabetes, including:
- Lifestyle changes
- Dietary improvements
- Insulin injections
We work closely with you to keep your blood glucose levels balanced and reduce your risk for nerve damage, vision loss, and other serious diabetes-related complications. To schedule a consultation for A1C testing or diabetes management, call Houston Family MD or book an appointment online today.