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.
A1c Results at Home
Currently, there is only one portable consumer option for immediate results at home. It is called A1CNow SELFCHECK. This technology has 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.
The A1CNow SELFCHECK, from Bayer Healthcare, is available at pharmacies and early reports show that the results are very similar to those done by labs. Bayer claims 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:
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