The HbA1c test (also known as A1c or glycated hemoglobin) measures your average blood sugar levels over a period of time by taking a sample of a specific component of your red blood cells—hemoglobin A1C molecules.
Some blood sugar naturally attaches itself to these A1C molecules as the molecules move through your bloodstream. When this happens, the molecule is considered "glycated." The more sugar in your blood, the more glycated A1C molecules you will have.1
The A1C test is not a substitute for frequent self-monitoring. It shows the average amount of blood sugar in the body over the last 3–4 months. Frequent highs and lows can result in a healthy-looking A1C result. Only self-monitoring can show how meals, physical activity, medications and stress affect your blood sugar over short periods of time. This provides more reference as you manage your diabetes.
Most experts recommend an HbA1c test every 3 months. Your healthcare professional will help you schedule HbA1c tests and decide what testing schedule is right for you.