The A1c test and results chart improve diabetes diagnosis and management by providing a test for diagnosing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes that does not require fasting and by providing information about blood glucose levels over an extended period of time to assess the success of treatment plans in those with preexisting diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health. A1c results provide a numerical representation of the average blood glucose of a patient over a three-month period.
The A1c test reports average blood glucose as a percentage, notes the NIH. A lower number indicates a lower blood glucose level over the past three months. A normal reading is 5.7 or lower.
Used as a diagnostic test since 2009, the test has advantages over traditional diagnostic tests, states the NIH. In addition to not requiring fasting, the test is accurate regardless of the time of day it is administered. These advantages make it easier for people to be tested for diabetes. On the other hand, some medical organizations still prefer more traditional blood glucose tests for diagnosis.
The A1c test helps manage diabetes in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, maintains the NIH. Doctors use the results of regular A1c tests to adjust medications to best meet the needs of the diabetic patient. Research correlates a relationship between lowered A1c scores and a reduced risk of long-term diabetes complications.