In individuals who do not have diabetes, the normal range for the A1c test is between 4 and 5.6 percent, according to WebMD. Doctors work with patients to set a goal for the A1c levels for diabetics, typically to keep the level below 7 percent. The test reveals how well a patient maintained his blood glucose levels for the past two to three months.
The A1c blood test requires no special preparation, according to Mayo Clinic. The medical care provider takes a blood sample, either through a finger prick or from a vein to perform the test. The test determines the amount of sugar that is coating hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is the part of the blood responsible for delivering oxygen to the cells. Undergoing a large blood loss, receiving a transfusion or having a hemoglobin variant skews the results of the test. Results vary among labs, and doctors should consider these factors when interpreting test results.
Maintaining the A1c levels within the set range is an important step in preventing complications of diabetes, according to MedlinePlus. The higher the levels, the greater the chances of developing problems with the eyes, heart or kidneys. Maintaining blood glucose levels within the predetermined range helps prevent nerve damage and stroke. If the A1c level is too high, doctors sometimes suggest changes in medication or lifestyle for tighter control.