A1C Home Test Kits

Know your A1C between doctor visits

Insulin test and vials
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Hemoglobin A1C tests are used to screen for and diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. A1C home test kits are a good option if you want to test your A1C at home in between visits to your doctor, whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. An A1C test gives a picture of how well your diabetes treatment is working by showing your average blood sugar level for the past two or three months. This can be very helpful in your diabetes management plan.

How A1C Home Test Kits Work

All A1C home test kits allow you to provide a small blood sample, about the same as your glucose meter, in the convenience of your home. Depending on the type of kit you purchase, you either get immediate results at home or you send the sample to a lab for analysis.

Home A1C tests are not approved for diagnosing diabetes. You need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

Factors That Can Affect Accuracy

There are factors that will affect the accuracy of A1C tests, so discuss this with your doctor to ensure you know whether they're appropriate for you. A1C results are affected by hemoglobin variants (such as sickle cell), anemia, transfusion, blood loss, pregnancy, and rheumatoid factor.

A1C Results at Home

Portable consumer options for immediate results at home are now available at major retailers, with both name brand and house brand versions. A1CNow SELF CHECK was the original FDA-approved brand from Bayer Healthcare.

PTS Diagnostics purchased the A1CNow business in 2014 and markets it under the original name, plus they license it for store brand devices. Walmart sells it as ReliOn Fast A1C Test and Walgreens and CVS as At Home A1C Test Kit.

This technology received FDA approval and allows you to learn your A1C number in five minutes.

It's similar in appearance to your daily glucose meter, but you don't use it on a continual basis. You purchase this A1C meter in a two-test kit. Once you have used those tests, you discard the meter. There are no supplies, such as strips, to replenish. Each time you purchase a new kit, you receive a new meter calibrated specifically for those testing cartridges.

These at-home A1C kits are available at many pharmacies and online retailers and early reports show that the results are very similar to those done by labs.

A1C Results From the Lab

The A1C home kits that are analyzed at the lab all follow a similar procedure. Here's what you do:

  • Provide a blood-spot specimen from home with the materials that come with the kit
  • Mail the specimen to the lab in a postage-paid return mailer
  • Wait for 3 to 10 days for lab results to be returned, which usually includes a report of the results

The Appraise A1C Test Kit is a single test kit that you mail in for lab analysis. Results are available within 72 hours of your blood sample's arrival at the testing lab and are 99.8 percent accurate. Make sure that your specimen is protected properly when you mail it to the lab.

A1C Versus Daily Glucose Monitoring

The American Diabetes Association recommends A1C testing twice a year if you're meeting your treatment goals and your blood glucose levels are stable and four times a year if you're having problems managing your blood sugar.

It's important to understand that home A1C tests are not intended to take the place of daily glucose testing. A1C tests measure the average blood sugar you have had over the past 2 to 3 months. Daily glucose testing measures your blood sugar at the present moment. Both are needed for effective management of your diabetes.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic Staff. A1C Test. Mayo Clinic. Updated January 7, 2016.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The A1C Test & Diabetes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. September 2014.