Hemoglobin A1c: About Your Child's Test

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What is it?

Hemoglobin A1c is a blood test that checks your child's average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. This test also is called a glycohemoglobin test or an A1c test.

Why is this test done?

The A1c test is done to check how well your child's diabetes has been controlled over the past 2 to 3 months. Your child's doctor can use this information to adjust your child's medicine and diabetes treatment, if needed.

How can you prepare for the test?

Your child does not need to stop eating before the A1c test. This test can be done at any time during the day, even after a meal.

What happens during the test?

The health professional taking a sample of your child's blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your child's upper arm. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your child's arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.

What else should you know about the test?

The test result is usually given as a percentage. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends:

  • Most adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes (13 to 18 years old) aim for an A1c of 7.0% or less.
  • School-age children with type 1 diabetes (6 to 12 years old) aim for an A1c of 7.5% or less.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers with type 1 diabetes (under 6 years old) aim for an A1c of 8.0% or less.
  • Children, adolescents, and young adults with type 2 diabetes (up tp 18 years old) aim for an A1c of 7.0% or less.

The A1c test result also can be used to find your child's estimated average glucose, or eAG. The eAG and A1c show the same thing in two different ways. They both help you learn more about your child's average blood sugar range over the past 2 to 3 months.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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