About this test
HbA1c is a test that can determine if you have diabetes, or if you are at high risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the levels of sugar (glucose) in the body become too high. There are several types of diabetes but they all share in common that they lead to blood sugars being too high.
It is important to make a diagnosis of diabetes as early as possible because the correct treatment can minimise the risk of complications in the future.
What is HbA1c and why is it important?
Glycated haemoglobin, also known as HbA1c, can be used as a test for people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and as a test to diagnose type 2 diabetes in patients with or without symptoms.
The HbA1c test gives an indication of the average levels of sugar (glucose) in your blood over the previous two to three months.
Unlike other tests for diabetes, such as glucose, the HbA1c test can be carried out at any time of day and does not require any special preparation, such as fasting before taking the blood sample.
WHO IS THIS TEST FOR
People who may benefit from having a HbA1c test
To screen people who think they might be at high risk of developing diabetes which includes being overweight, large waist size and low levels of exercise.
Symptoms of diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes include feeling very thirsty, passing more urine than usual, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing and feeling tired all the time.
The symptoms occur because the sugar (glucose) in your blood becomes very high and cannot be used as fuel for energy by your body. Your body tries to remove excess sugar in your urine resulting in thirst and increased need to urinate. Symptoms include:
- urinating more often than usual, especially at night
- feeling very thirsty
- feeling very tired
- unexplained weight loss
- itching around the genitalia, or frequent episodes of thrush
- cuts or wounds that heal slowly