A simple blood test used to help diagnose diabetes and assess sugar control through identifying blood sugar levels over the previous 6-8 weeks.
Sugar that is not used for energy is left in the blood, where it attaches itself to haemoglobin - the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen - in a process called glycosylation. The more glucose there is in the bloodstream, the more glucose builds up in the cells. This binding of sugar to molecules in cells is one way diabetes causes physical damage and health problems.
This Glycosylated HB blood test measures the amount of sugar that is attached to the haemoglobin in red blood cells, with results given as a percentage. Because red blood cells live in the bloodstream for about four months, the HbA1c test shows the average blood sugar for the past several months.
Unlike a regular blood sugar test, the HbA1c test is not affected by short-term changes. So even though you may have had high blood sugar on occasion, a good glycosylated haemoglobin result can show that, overall, you are doing a good job of controlling your diabetes.
This blood test should be done every three to six months, depending on your treatment programme and level of control.
This blood test is for anyone monitoring diabetes, looking for a definitive diabetes diagnosis or for people who wish to monitor their blood sugar control as part of an overall healthy living strategy.
The signs that you may have diabetes include feeling thirsty, urinating frequently (especially at night), thrush infections, blurred vision and skin disorders.
HbA1c or Haemoglobin A1c is also known as glycosolated haemoglobin and is a longer term measure of glucose levels in your blood than a simple blood glucose test. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, and as your cells live for around 8 - 12 weeks, it gives us a good indication of the level of sugar in your blood over a 2 - 3 month period.
This is an important measure for diagnosing type 2 diabetes as well as understanding how well blood sugar levels are being contolled in someone with diabetes.
We will send you your HbA1c finger-prick blood and test sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood and sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample collection or choose to go our London laboratory during the checkout process.
Your HbA1c test includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood and sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood and sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.