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Blood Test: Hemoglobin A1c

Medically reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD

What Is a Blood Test?

By taking and testing a small sample of a person’s blood, doctors can check for many kinds of diseases and conditions. Blood tests help doctors check how the body’s organs are working and see if medical treatments are helpful.

To help your child get ready for a blood test, find out if they need to fast (not eat or drink) or should stop taking medicines before the test. Explain what to expect during the test. If your child is anxious about it, work together on ways to stay calm.

What Is a Hemoglobin A1c Test?

A hemoglobin A1c test measures how much a person’s glucose levels have been in and out of the healthy (or target) range during the last 2-3 months. Glucose (GLOO-kose) is a type of sugar used by the body for energy. Hemoglobin (HEE-muh-glow-bin) is the protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. If too much glucose builds up in blood, it binds to hemoglobin, and this is what the hemoglobin A1c test measures. High hemoglobin A1c levels can happen when someone’s blood sugars have been higher than their healthy range.

Why Are Hemoglobin A1c Tests Done?

Doctors check hemoglobin A1c tests in kids with diabetes. The test helps them see how well medicines are working. A high hemoglobin A1c level may mean that a child’s medicines need to be adjusted. Sometimes a hemoglobin A1c test is done as part of a routine checkup to screen for problems.

What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions about the hemoglobin A1c test or what the test results mean, talk to your doctor.

Medically reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: August 2023