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what is an A1c test?

It’s a simple blood test that measures your blood sugar levels. It’s used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes.

The higher your A1c levels, the greater your chance of developing diabetes or experiencing complications due to diabetes.

do I need an A1c test?

Yes! While everyone should know their baseline A1c levels, certain groups are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and should get tested.

You’re in a high-risk group if you:

  • Have prediabetes

  • Are overweight

  • Are 45 years or older

  • Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes

  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week

  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

  • Are Hispanic/Latina/o, African American, American Indian or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)

how often should I check my A1c levels?

After getting a baseline A1c test (an initial test that reveals what’s normal for you), the CDC recommends the following based on your results and demographic:

  • If your result is normal, but you’re over 45, have risk factors, or have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), repeat the A1c test every 3 years.

  • If your result shows you have prediabetes, talk to your doctor about taking steps now to improve your health and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Repeat the A1c test as often as your doctor recommends, usually every 1 to 2 years.

  • If you don’t have symptoms, but your result shows you have prediabetes or diabetes, get a second test on a different day to confirm the result.

If you have diabetes, get an A1c test at least twice a year, more often if your medicine changes or if you have other health conditions. Regardless, talk to your doctor about how often is right for you.

what are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, often at night

  • Thirst

  • Unexpected weight loss

  • Increased hunger

  • Blurry vision

  • Numb or tingling hands or feet

  • Tiredness

  • Very dry skin

  • Sores that heal slowly

  • More infections than usual

what if my test shows that I’m prediabetic or diabetic?

Don’t panic—more than 88 million US adults have prediabetes, which is reversible, and type 2 diabetes is highly treatable! By getting your A1c levels tested, you’ve taken the first step towards a healthier you.

Thankfully, all of our Health & Wellness Center providers are fully equipped to treat you if necessary. They’ll coach you through the necessary changes to get your A1c levels back on track.