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HHS HealthBeat (April 4, 2012)

How’s your A1C

A pricked finger.
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

An A1C test can help to diagnose diabetes. That’s because an A1C test measures the sugar glucose attached to a specific blood protein, hemoglobin, which stays in the blood about three months. By comparison, the standard blood test for glucose is at a single point in time.

At the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. David Sacks also says the usual blood tests for glucose require at least an eight hour fast. He notes the A1C does not.

“Because hemoglobin AIC is not affected by short-term glucose in the blood, you can measure it at any time of the day and whenever the patient arrives, regardless of the time of their previous meal.” (11 seconds)

The NIH has a new fact sheet to help people understand the AIC test.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 4, 2012