HbA1c Normal Range: How to Scan for Diabetes with HbA1c Test

HbA1c Normal Range: How to Scan for Diabetes with HbA1c Test

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
January 23, 20236 mins read

Synopsis

Just like the fasting blood sugar test, the HbA1c test screens for the level of glucose in your blood. However, there is a subtle difference between the two tests. Read on to find out more.

Key Takeaways

  • With the HbA1c test, individuals can screen for prediabetes and diabetes
  • The hbA1c blood test provides an average glucose level in your blood
  • Usually, this test considers a period between 2-3 months for calculation

Have you ever heard of the HbA1c test and HbA1c normal range? Have you recently checked your blood sugar? Apart from the usual blood sugar test, you can go for the HbA1c test and get an average value of sugar in your blood for the last two to three months. If you already have diabetes, the HbA1c normal range would be 6.5% or below. However, if you are in the prediabetic phase, HbA1c normal value for you will be 6% or under that [1]. Thus, an HbA1c test or hemoglobin A1c test helps to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes and effectively manage them. To know how to maintain HbA1c normal range, read on.

What is HbA1c?

Glycated haemoglobin or HbA1C reflects the average of your blood sugar levels for the last two-three months. WHO has recommended it be used to manage diabetes mellitus [2]. HbA1c gets formed when blood sugar binds to hemoglobin.

Additional Read: RDW Blood Test Normal Range: Normal Range, Test Uses, Causes of High RDW

How high blood sugar creates HbA1c

Red blood cells produce HbA1c with the help of glucose. So, an increased blood sugar level results in a high amount of HbA1c by a red blood cell [3]. Remember, the lifespan of red blood cells varies among individuals, but approximately it is 117 days for men and 106 days for women. So, HbA1c acts as an index of average blood glucose levels covering all or the maximum lifespan of the red blood cells of your body. Normal adult hemoglobin has a high amount of HbA1, which consists of 5% HbA1c [4]. So, if your red blood cells live beyond three months and are smaller in size and volume (as measured in the unit of Mean Corpuscular Volume or MCV), it will boost your HbA1c to an excessively high level.

How the HbA1c blood test is performed

Procedure

The sample collection procedure is similar to other blood tests, where blood will be taken from your arm or by pricking your finger. However, it is, in fact, more convenient than a blood sugar test as you don’t have separately prepare for the test by fasting for hours.

Additional Read: SGPT Normal Range: High Level Causes and Symptoms8-feb-HbA1c Normal Range:

HbA1c normal range chart

To understand more about HbA1c test normal range and prediabetic and diabetic ranges, refer to the chart below.

HbA1c test range chart

NormalBetween 4.0%-5.6% [5]
Prediabetic phase5.7%-6.4%
Diabetic phase6.5% or beyond

What causes normal HbA1c levels to vary?

Different factors cause HbA1c normal range to vary. Here’s a look at them.

Age

Note that HbA1c levels increase as you age, even if you don’t have diabetes [6]. For example, people who have crossed 70 years usually have 0.5% higher HbA1c compared to the ones under 30.

Change in season

It has been observed that HbA1c levels can be higher during winter than in summer months [7].

Gender

Studies show that women have a higher risk of getting HbA1c-defined diabetes than men [8].

Blood donation

Remember, donating your blood boosts the HbA1c level, so HbA1c normal range will change for people with diabetes after donating blood [9]. This phase will last for some time.

Difference in ethnicity

As per reports, people with South Asian and African-Caribbean ancestries may have a 0.27-0.4% higher HbA1c level than the ones with a European origin [10, 11].

Pregnancy

It is important to note that HbA1c test normal range may vary slightly for expecting mothers. For example, studies show that HbA1c levels decrease during the second trimester if the pregnant woman is non-diabetic. However, in the same instance, it goes up during the third trimester [12].

What to do if you have high levels of hemoglobin A1c?

If you have a high level of hemoglobin A1c, it is best to speak with your doctor and work on a plan to take it down to a normal HbA1c level. In such cases, doctors may suggest a threefold approach that covers awareness, diet control and exercise. Losing weight will also be a priority if you are obese or overweight. In the case of type 1 diabetes and some instances of type 2 diabetes, drug therapy will be required along with all the things mentioned above.

When should hemoglobin A1c levels be tested?

Top diabetes experts recommend people over 45 years get screened for diabetes every three years. However, in the case of certain risk factors, doctors may advise the same to younger people. Here are the risk factors they consider:

  • Obesity or a sedentary lifestyle
  • Symptoms of insulin resistance, or conditions like hypertension, PCOS, high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol, which are linked to insulin resistance
  • A close relative with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • In the case of diabetes during pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes

Apart from these, it is wise for people with diabetes to screen for HbA1c every six months. Doctors may also recommend checking for diabetes every three months if it is associated with pregnancy, low blood sugar, alteration of insulin doses, or rapidly changing levels of HbA1c.

Feb Ill 8-HbA1c Normal Range

Conclusion

Now that you have all the necessary information regarding the HbA1c test and HbA1c normal range, it is much easier to manage diabetes or prediabetes with regular check-ups. For any concern regarding diabetes and the HbA1c lab test, you can book an online doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health. Apart from that, you can also book online lab tests from this platform. So prioritize healthcare above everything for a happy and stress-free life! 

FAQs

What are the advantages of HbA1c over other blood sugar tests?

Here are the benefits of taking the HbA1c test over other blood sugar tests:

  • You don’t need to fast to give blood samples for the HbA1c test; you can give it any time
  • The result of HbA1c is more or less accurate
  • HbA1c offers more stability than glucose in a high temperature of 37°C
  • Stress or any physical activity doesn’t affect the test result
  • While it shows an average blood sugar level for an extended period, short-term hormonal changes don’t affect HbA1c normal range

However, do note that the HbA1c test can produce a false result in case of anemia and other health conditions related to hemoglobin and red blood cells, which will not result in an HbA1c normal range. 

What is the difference between a normal blood sugar test and HbA1c?

While a glucose test measures the current amount of sugar or glucose in the blood, an HbA1c test determines the average value of blood sugar for the last two-three months.

HbA1c Normal Range: How to Scan for Diabetes with HbA1c Test banner
  1. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/hba1c
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696727/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401751/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4933534/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27398023/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2721988
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19535310
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26758477
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3934276/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377612/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24942103
  12. http://smj.sma.org.sg/5108/5108ra1.pdf

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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