The A1C test is the primary test used to diagnose and manage diabetes. People who have already been diagnosed with diabetes because of their A1C test results will usually have the test repeated once every three or four months to gauge how well the disease is responding to their current method of treatment. The A1C test may also be given to people who are exhibiting symptoms of diabetes or those with a family history of the disease.

How often is the A1C Test Given?

A person’s A1C test results will usually determine the frequency of the testing. The American Diabetes Association advises that A1C test results be checked no less than twice per year in people who have diabetes. Generally speaking, those with better A1C test results will have the rest done less often than those with higher results, which signifies that the disease is not under control.

Why is A1C Testing Done?

While most diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day at home, those readings cannot paint as accurate a picture of their true glucose levels as A1C test results can. That’s because A1C test results are a measure of glucose in the blood over a three month time period and are not swayed by contributing factors like food, stress and lifestyle habits. Blood glucose levels taken at home can fluctuate wildly from one reading to the next and give diabetics a false sense of security if they get readings that are continuously low. They can also provide false alarms, too, by producing readings higher than what the A1C test results will show.

How are A1C Test Results Used?

A1C test results are used to determine whether or not a person’s diabetes is under control. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to a host of health problems, including blindness, stroke and even death. Poorly controlled diabetes can have the same detrimental effects. A1C test results let doctors know if the current treatment method is effectively managing the disease or if a different method of treatment may be required.