How to check your HbA1c levels at home
HbA1c stands for hemoglobin A1c, it is a bio-marker which is used to screen for diabetes. It is the protein in your red blood cells which carries oxygen around your body and is what gives blood its red colour. The higher the blood sugar, the higher the level of hemoglobin A1c, which can be a sign of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
What is HbA1c?
HbA1c stands for hemoglobin A1c. HbA1c is defined as a minor component of hemoglobin, which glucose binds to.
A1c is a test used to measure the percentage of blood that has glucose attached to it. The hemoglobin A1c tests is also known as the glycated hemoglobin test. This test gives you an indication of your blood sugar over the last 2-3 month period as hemoglobin regenerates itself every three months.
There are 3.7 million people in the U.K* living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. LetsGetChecked offer a convenient, confidential at home health testing service that replaces waiting lists and worry with privacy and time-efficiency through at home health testing. The HbA1c test offers an overview of your blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months.
Should you take a HbA1c test?
The LetsGetChecked HbA1c test can be taken by those who live with prediabetes, who would like to explain symptoms they have been experiencing or for those who wish to rule out the condition.
You should take the HbA1c test if you are experiencing symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, especially if you have been experiencing them for up to six weeks. Find more about the symptoms of type 2 diabetes here.
Monitoring your blood sugar is an integral part of diabetes treatment. The HbA1c test can also be taken to monitor your blood sugar levels if you have been diagnosed with diabetes previously, by measuring hemoglobin A1.
How do HbA1c tests work?
HbA1c tests work by testing the blood for hemoglobin A1c and the percentage of hemoglobin A1c. Small capillary blood samples are necessary for the analysis. The percentage of hemoglobin A1c refers to the ratio of blood sugar that sits on the surface of red blood cells versus the number of red blood cells that do not have sugar molecules attached to them.
By measuring the hemoglobin A1c versus the percentage of hemoglobin A1c, the diabetes test will show a person’s average blood sugar level during the 2-3 month period prior to taking the test.
The LetsGetChecked HbA1c test includes full step by step instructions, lancets, alcohol swabs, wipes and a secure blood collection tube for you to safely send off your sample.
How the LetsGetChecked test works
The HbA1c test involves a small prick to the finger to collect a tiny blood sample. Here is how to use the kit, which provides everything you will need.
- Fill in your details on the lab sticker contained in the test kit
- Head to the LetsGetChecked website to activate your kit
- Use the alcohol swab provided to clean and dry the finger
- Take the lancet and use as per the included instructions
- Wipe away the first drops of blood with a tissue
- Gently squeeze your finger to help the blood flow
- Fill your sample to the line in the collection tube and secure
- Ensure you have completed the details in the kit
- Send your sample off in the self-addressed envelope
Tips for taking the HbA1c test
- Take the test in the morning, allowing around 15-20 minutes to complete
- Always wash your hands in warm soapy water before collecting your sample
- Warm hands make it easier to take a sample
- The best location for collecting blood from the third or fourth finger of the hand you don't write with