A1c Home Test Kits

Know Your A1c Between Doctor Visits

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Hemoglobin A1c home test kits are still coming of age for people with type 1 diabetes. But you do have some options if you want to test your A1c at home in between visits to your doctor.

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.

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

Home A1C tests are not approved for diagnosis of diabetes.

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. Wal-Mart 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 is similar in appearance to your daily glucose meter but is not used on a continual basis. You purchase this A1c meter in a two-test kit. When you have used those tests on that meter, 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 pharmacies and early reports show that the results are very similar to those done by labs. Bayer claimed 99% accuracy when compared to lab results.

A1c Results From the Lab

The A1c home kits that are analyzed at the lab all follow a similar procedure. You:

  • 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 3 to 10 days for lab results to be returned, which usually includes a report of the results

These A1c tests are considered accurate since they are processed at a lab. Care must be taken though to ensure that the specimen is protected properly when mailed to the lab.

Some of the more popular A1c home test kits that use lab analysis are:

  • Appraise A1c Test Kit – Single test kit with accurate results that are available within 72 hours of blood sample arrival at the testing lab.
  • Flexsite A1c Test Kit – Comes in a single or a four-test kit. Accurate results within 7 to 10 days of arrival at the testing lab.
  • ReliOn A1c Test Kit – Single test kit that provides accurate lab results within five days either by mail or email.

A side-by-side comparison of most of these A1c home test kits is available.

A1c Versus Daily Glucose Monitoring

The American Diabetes Association recommends A1c testing at least twice a year for people with type 1 diabetes and four times a year if you are having problems managing your blood sugar.

It is 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.

Convert your A1c number to a reading that matches your glucose meter.


Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2010. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. January 2010 vol. 33 no. Supplement 1 S11-S61.http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/Supplement_1/S11.full.pdf+html

A1CNow SELF CHECK, Overview and Helpful Hints, March, 2014. PTS Diagnostics.

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