When was the last time you checked your HbA1c level? That’s an important question to ask yourself if your blood sugar is in the diabetes or prediabetes range. Keeping track of changes in your HbA1c level – which reveals your average blood sugar levels over the past 90 days – lets you see if your blood sugar levels are getting better or worse over time. This allows you to manage diabetes or prediabetes as effectively as possible.
Just how often should you check HbA1c level (or “A1c level”)?
The answer depends on a number of factors, but it mainly comes down to this: have you been diagnosed with diabetes – or do you have prediabetes?
If you have diabetes, tracking your HbA1c level can help you – and your doctor – assess the effectiveness of your current treatment plan. Monitoring HbA1c levels can also help you see how choices you make – like diet – affect your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, tracking your HbA1c level can help you – and your doctor – assess the effectiveness of your current treatment plan.
So how frequently should you test your HbA1c levels if you have diabetes? Here are a few guidelines:
(1) Check your HbA1c levels a minimum of 2 times a year (every 6 months) if you’ve reached – and are consistently maintaining – your blood sugar target range (according to the recommendation of the American Diabetes Association).
(2) Check your HbA1c levels 4 times a year (every 3 months) if your blood sugar levels aren’t consistently within your target range.
(3) Also test HbA1c levels 4 times a year if you’ve recently adopted a different treatment plan, as this will help you and your doctor determine how well the new treatment is working.
(4) You may need to check your HbA1c levels much more often – like every month – if you are pregnant. There are several reasons why. One reason is that blood sugar levels that are too high or too low during pregnancy can harm the health of the developing baby (by making it more likely that the baby will be born with a low birth weight, for example). Frequent monitoring of your HbA1c levels can help you prevent this outcome.
You may need to check your HbA1c levels quite often – like every month – if you are pregnant.
Prediabetes – also known as “borderline diabetes” – refers to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that haven’t yet climbed into the diabetes range. Specifically, a prediabetes HbA1c level lies within the 5.7% and 6.4% range.
According to some estimates, about 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. And here’s an equally startling statistic: if you have prediabetes, your risk of type 2 diabetes is up to 15 times greater than that of an individual with normal blood sugar levels! So, because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.
Because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.
Here are a few guidelines for monitoring your HbA1c levels if you have prediabetes:
(1) In general, check your HbA1c level at least once a year. So if you have prediabetes – but haven’t checked your HbA1c status for more than a year – it’s probably time to get an HbA1c test kit.
(2) Check your HbA1c levels more frequently – 2 times a year (or once every six months) – if you are especially at risk of diabetes because:
* You currently have a heart disease
* Your body mass index (BMI) is in the obese range (a BMI of 30 or more)
* You have a family history of type 2 diabetes
(3) Also, testing your HbA1c levels more than twice a year – like 4 times a year, or once every 3 months – can be useful if you’re actively taking steps to lower your blood sugar levels and want to monitor your progress.
Testing your HbA1c levels more than twice a year – like 4 times a year – can be useful if you’re actively taking steps to lower your blood sugar levels (such as regularly exercising) and want to monitor your progress.
Regularly checking in on your HbA1c levels doesn’t have to be a hassle. Not, at least, if you use EverlyWell’s convenient HbA1c test kit. This is a very easy way to track your HbA1c levels because you can do it all from home. (Or, as one test-taker put it: “The kit is mailed to me and I mail it back. So easy!”)
So if you’re due for another HbA1c checkup, you can go here to get your at-home HbA1c test.