A hemoglobin A1c test helps identify those at an increased risk of developing diabetes, as well as monitor a diabetes patient to help in treatment decisions. The A1c test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last 2 to 3 months by measuring the percentage of glycated (glycosylated) hemoglobin.
What is hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is an oxygen-transporting protein found inside red blood cells. There are several types of normal hemoglobin, but the predominant form – about 95-98% – is hemoglobin A. As glucose circulates in the blood, some of it spontaneously binds to hemoglobin A. Hemoglobin A1c, also called glycated hemoglobin, is hemoglobin with glucose attached. The higher the level of glucose in the blood, the more glycated hemoglobin is formed.
When should I have an A1c test done?
Hemoglobin A1c may be ordered as part of a health checkup or when someone is suspected of having diabetes because of classical signs or symptoms of increased blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) such as:
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Slow-healing wounds or infections
An A1c test may also be considered in overweight adults with the following risk factors:
- Physical inactivity
- High-risk ethnicity
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal lipid profile
- High cholesterol
- History of cardiovascular disease
- First-degree relative (sibling or parent) with diabetes
HOW DO I GET TESTED?
To order your own lab tests, you just need to follow these three easy steps:
- Complete a lab order form for your test online and print it out to take with you to the DLO Patient Service Center. Follow the instructions on the laboratory test order form if fasting is required for the testing you are ordering.
- Visit any DLO Patient Service Center throughout Oklahoma. Check in with our friendly staff and give them your completed order form. Full payment is due at time of service before sample collection is performed. Note that we accept all major credit cards and checks. Unfortunately, we cannot accept cash payments. Have one of our skilled phlebotomists draw a blood sample or take a urine sample, who will send your sample to our laboratory for testing.
- Create a MyQuest™ account and view your test results through the MyQuest online patient portal. Test results are available through MyQuest within 7-10 business days of completing your lab work.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY RESULTS ARE ABNORMAL OR OUT-OF-RANGE?
It is always recommended you meet with a healthcare provider to determine what your laboratory test results mean to you. Your healthcare provider will review all of your test results and, combined with your health history, will be able to provide an accurate course of action.
If your results were high: If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, high levels could indicate an increased risk of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, abnormal results could indicate that your diabetes is not being controlled and you may be at risk for complications. Keeping A1c levels close to normal is a key part of diabetes care. The American Diabetic Association recommends diabetics keep their A1c levels at less than 7%. As with any abnormal results, it’s important that you discuss their implications with your healthcare provider.
If your results were within normal range: Because your test results give a measure of how well your diabetes is being controlled, they can provide important information for your healthcare provider. Talk with your healthcare provider about your results and how you can use them to better manage your diabetes.
WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MY HEALTH AND LABORATORY TESTS?
DLO Direct™ offers direct access to laboratory testing for informational purposes only. A DLO Direct lab test result is not a medical diagnosis and is not intended as medical advice. Only a healthcare provider can interpret lab results and diagnose a medical condition or disease.
Because tests have not been ordered by a healthcare provider, third party entities, including Medicare and Medicaid, will not reimburse for these tests.