What Is The Best Time For HbA1c Test?

Medically Reviewed By: DR. HARDIK BAMBHANIA, MBBS, MD , 8 Years of Experience April 2, 2024

Diabetes rates are soaring globally, fueled by sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, and ageing populations. Timely testing has become crucial due to the silent progression of the disease, often unnoticed until complications arise.

According to Diabetes UK, one pivotal test is the HbA1c, which measures average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. Unlike conventional blood glucose tests, HbA1c provides a broader picture of glycemic control, aiding in the early detection and management of diabetes. It helps healthcare providers tailor treatment plans, reducing the risk of complications like heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage.

The query arises: How do we effectively track blood sugar levels? How frequently is it necessary to do an HbA1c test? What methods and timing are optimal? If you grapple with these questions, this blog will comprehensively answer all your inquiries.

Why An HbA1c Test Is Important?

The HbA1c test is the gold standard for assessing blood sugar control, surpassing daily monitoring methods. While self-monitoring can fluctuate due to factors like diet and activity, the HbA1c test offers a stable average over 2-3 months, providing a clearer picture of glycemic management. Moreover, it’s affordable, easily accessible, and requires no special preparation. This test is a guiding factor in diabetes management, helping people and healthcare providers tailor treatment plans effectively for improved long-term health outcomes. As stated by the National Institutes of Health, here are the general ranges for HbA1c levels:

  • Normal: Typically below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: Usually between 5.7% to 6.4%
  • Diabetes: Generally 6.5% or higher
Read More: Random Glucose Testing, Normal Range & Importance

Signs That Suggest You Should Do An HbA1c Test

Signs That Suggest You Should Do An HbA1c Test

Recognising signs that call for an HbA1c test is crucial, though symptoms may not definitively point to diabetes. Catching the signs of diabetes isn’t always straightforward, as they can mimic other conditions. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, here are the signs that indicate you should do an HbA1c test before the condition progresses:

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger (polyphagia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing wounds or sores
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Recurrent infections, such as urinary tract infections or yeast infections
  • Dry, itchy skin

Read More: Top 7 Acupressure Points for Sugar Patient

The Best Time For Taking An HbA1c Test

The best time to take an HbA1c test is typically in the morning, especially when there hasn’t been a recent change in diet or lifestyle. However, there are not any mandated test timings. Fasting isn’t necessary for this test, but consistency in daily habits helps ensure accurate results.

Since HbA1c reflects average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months, a morning test provides a snapshot of glycemic control without immediate influences from food or activity. This consistency offers healthcare professionals a reliable basis for assessing diabetes management and making informed treatment decisions.

Read More: Know What A1c Test Measures

What Is The Best Time For HbA1c Test During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the best time for an HbA1c test in a day is typically in the morning, similar to non-pregnant individuals. This timing provides a reliable summary of average blood sugar levels over the preceding 2-3 months, aiding in the assessment of glycemic control. However, pregnant women may also undergo additional HbA1c testing at different times throughout the day, as recommended by their healthcare provider, to monitor variations in blood sugar levels and ensure optimal management of gestational diabetes.

Note: According to BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, elevated HbA1c levels during early pregnancy pose a risk for gestational diabetes.

Is Fasting Necessary For Taking An HbA1c Test?

Fasting isn’t necessary for HbA1c testing because this blood test measures the average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months, unaffected by recent food intake. Unlike fasting blood glucose tests, which gauge immediate sugar levels, HbA1c reflects a longer-term picture, as it assesses the percentage of hemoglobin that is glycated by glucose.

Therefore, whether you’ve eaten or not before the test doesn’t impact the results significantly. This makes HbA1c testing more convenient and flexible, allowing individuals to undergo the test at any time of day without the need for fasting.

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How Often Should One Take An HbA1c Test?

Regular HbA1c tests are vital for tracking blood sugar levels. Generally, a yearly test suffices for those without risk factors. However, if you have a family history of diabetes or inconsistent sugar consumption, testing every three to six months is advisable.

These tests help monitor sugar levels, allowing you to take timely precautions to prevent spikes. By staying proactive with HbA1c testing, you can effectively manage your sugar intake and maintain good health.


In conclusion, the HbA1c test emerges as a cornerstone in managing diabetes amidst rising global rates. Its ability to provide a comprehensive picture of blood sugar levels over months makes it indispensable for timely intervention and effective treatment planning. Recognizing the signs that prompt an HbA1c test is vital, even though symptoms may not exclusively indicate diabetes. Understanding the optimal timing for testing, typically in the morning and without fasting, ensures accurate results. Moreover, the frequency of testing varies based on individual risk factors, emphasizing the importance of regular monitoring. By embracing HbA1c testing as a proactive measure, people can take charge of their health, mitigate risks, and foster better outcomes in the long run.

Read More: Top 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

FAQ’s(Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the guidelines for HbA1c in pregnancy?

Guidelines for HbA1c in pregnancy vary, but generally, levels below 6% are considered optimal for pregnant women with diabetes, balancing glycemic control with minimizing risks to the baby.

When should I check my HbA1c during pregnancy?

HbA1c should be checked during pregnancy at the beginning and throughout each trimester to monitor blood sugar control.

Is HbA1c test done after fasting?

No, fasting isn’t required for an HbA1c test.

Can HbA1c be done at any time?

Yes, HbA1c testing can be done at any time of the day, without fasting.

What time of the day should HbA1c be done?

HbA1c tests are typically done in the morning, preferably when there hasn’t been a recent change in diet or lifestyle.

How often should we check HbA1c?

The frequency of HbA1c testing depends on individual factors like diabetes management and risk. Generally, it ranges from every three months to annually.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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