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March 1, 2005

A1c (Glycohemoglobin, HgbA1c), Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Lenoir City, Tennessee, USA:

I had routine blood work done last week. The doctor's office called and said a count they did was high 5.5, that anything above 4.3 is considered high and that I have early diabetes. I am scheduled for a glucose test and an A1c. Does this mean that I am diabetic? Both my parents are diabetics as were my paternal grandparents.

Answer:

I am not sure what they measured. However, the fasting glucose is considered the gold standard for diagnosing diabetes. This test should be a blood draw through an arm vein and should be sent to the laboratory. It should not be performed on a fingerstick with a glucose meter. The hemoglobin A1c test is a test used to evaluate glucose control over a three-month period. However, the A1c is not a sensitive test for the diagnosis of diabetes, especially when the reading is within a percentage point of the normal range. I would suggest you have not been diagnosed yet and that these tests will be used to make a diagnosis.

JTL