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Over 45 or overweight? Get an A1C test

GEHA | June 23, 2022

This simple blood test can help doctors diagnose and manage diabetes.

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, so chances are you may know someone with the disease. Perhaps a doctor mentioned you might be a candidate for prediabetes, or you worry you might be diabetic. Whatever the case, keeping an eye on your A1C level is a good idea.

The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well you’re managing your diabetes. It reflects your average blood sugar level for the past three months.

The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

The results can help your doctor identify prediabetes and diagnose Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. If you have been previously diagnosed with diabetes, an A1C test helps the doctor keep tabs on your current treatment plan and adjust the plan or medicines, if necessary.

If you’re over 45, or if you’re under 45 and are overweight, you should get a baseline A1C test. If the result shows you have prediabetes or diabetes, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.

If you have diabetes, get an A1C test at least twice a year, more often if your medicine changes or you have other health conditions. Talk to your doctor about how often is right for you.

The A1C test is in addition to – not instead of – regular blood sugar self-testing if you have diabetes. Blood sugar goes up and down throughout the day and night, which isn’t captured by your A1C. If you’re reaching your A1C goal but have symptoms of highs or lows, check your blood sugar more often and at different times of the day. Keep track and share the results with your doctor.

A combination of diet, exercise and medication can bring your levels down. Work closely with your doctor in managing your blood sugar level long-term.

If you haven’t established a primary care physician, GEHA has tips for finding the right primary care physician. You can also search for an in-network physician near you.

Additional resources for managing diabetes are available on the GEHA blog.

The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

“The facts, stats and impacts of diabetes.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 January, 2022.
“A1C Test.” Mayo Clinic, 30 January, 2021.
“All About Your A1C.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 August, 2021.