Type 2 diabetes means your body has stopped processing glucose (sugar) properly. This causes an excess to build up in your blood, leading to cell damage and a variety of health problems. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes is predominantly a lifestyle disease. Diagnosis is straightforward with a simple diabetes test which measures HbA1c.
Most people don’t know they have diabetes until it’s too late. They sometimes ignore early warning signs, such as feeling thirsty all the time or finding skin injuries take longer to heal. But often there are no warning signs at all. Symptoms can have a swift onset and be as severe as reduced vision, kidney failure and erectile dysfunction.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and easy to predict. To find out if you’re on the path to diabetes and how to prevent it, all you need is a simple diabetes test.
The HbA1c diabetes test measures the average amount of sugar attached to your red blood cells for the past several months. It provides an accurate diagnosis of diabetes, whether that's Type 1 or Type 2.
Unlike a regular blood sugar test, the HbA1c blood test is not affected by short-term changes, so even though you may have had high blood sugar on occasion, a good HbA1c result can show that you’re doing a good job of controlling your blood sugar levels over time.
The diabetes test counts the number of red blood cells that are glycosylated (attached to sugar) and reports it as a percentage, e.g. if 7 out of every 100 red blood cells are attached to sugar, the HbA1c result will be 7%.
HbA1c can be expressed as a percentage (DCCT unit) or as a value in mmol/mol (IFCC unit). Since 2009, mmol/mol has been the default unit.
Your finger prick test kit and all instructions are posted directly to you, and there is no need to visit a collection centre.
You do not need to fast for this blood test.