Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


All About the A1C


Are you staying on target? This special blood glucose test can tell you


What is the A1C test?

The A1C test, also called the hemoglobin A1C test, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test, is a blood test that reflects the average level of glucose in your blood during the past 3 months. Your A1C test result is given as a percentage. Your doctor might use the A1C test to help diagnose your diabetes. Your doctor will draw a sample of your blood in the office or send you to a lab to have a sample of your blood drawn for the test. After being diagnosed with diabetes, you should have the A1C test at least twice a year.


Why should I have an A1C test?

The A1C tells you and your health care team how well your diabetes care plan worked over the last 2 to 3 months. It also helps decide the type and amount of diabetes medicine you need.

What is a good A1C target for me?

For many people with diabetes, the A1C target is below 7. You and your healthcare team will decide on an A1C target that is right for you.

If your A1C stays too high, it may increase your chances of having eye, kidney, nerve, and heart problems.

How often do I need an A1C?

You need an A1C at least twice a year. You need it more often if it is too high, if your diabetes treatment changes, or if you plan to become pregnant.

What if I plan to become pregnant?

Talk with your doctor before you get pregnant. Your doctor can help you reach an A1C target that allows a healthy baby to develop. If you are already pregnant, see your doctor right away.

Are there other numbers I need to know?

Yes, you need tests of your blood pressure and cholesterol (a blood fat). You and your health care team need to decide the best targets for these too. Keeping them in your target range can help lower your chances for having a heart attack or stroke.


How do I pay for these tests? 

Medicare and most insurance pay for the A1C, cholesterol, and some self‐test supplies. Check with your insurance plan or ask your health care team for help. Click here for more on Medicare.

Published March 11, 2015. 

Source: National Institutes of Health. April 23, 2014. National Diabetes Education Program. July 1, 2014. 

Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
What Is Hepatitis C?
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Diagnosing Hepatitis C
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
Just Diagnosed? Here’s What’s Next
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
Understanding Hepatitis C Treatment
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
Your Guide to Hep C Treatments
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
Managing Side Effects of Treatment
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
Making Hep C Treatment a Success
These tips may up your chances of a cure.