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Diabetes (HbA1c) Test Service

$35

Check your risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Track your average blood sugar levels over time.

Fingerprick sample collection kit

Secured online results account

Customised results sharing

Pre-paid sample return

Laboratory analysis

Track your levels over time

Free shipping

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Fingerprick sample collection kit

Secured online results account

Customised results sharing

Pre-paid sample return

Laboratory analysis

Track your levels over time

Free shipping

Why should I take this test?

Check for pre-diabetes and diabetes

Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed when detected early. Know your risk so you can act.

Manage existing diabetes

Keeping your HbA1c levels in the target range recommended by your doctor will reduce your risk of serious diabetes complications.

Note: This HbA1c test is not to be used in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes or gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. There are also other limitations and factors like medications and medical conditions that affect test results – click here for more information. Read and consider all information on this page before making your own decision about whether this HbA1c test is right for you.
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Why should I take this test?

Check for pre-diabetes and diabetes

Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed when detected early. Know your risk so you can act.

Manage existing diabetes

Keeping your HbA1c levels in the target range recommended by your doctor will reduce your risk of serious diabetes complications.

Note: This HbA1c test is not to be used in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes or gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. There are also other limitations and factors like medications and medical conditions that affect test results – click here for more information. Read and consider all information on this page before making your own decision about whether this HbA1c test is right for you.

How It Works

Follow these simple steps to get your blood test results without having to go to a pathology centre

Your result will indicate if you may be developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, or, if you're living with diabetes, if you're in the recommended range. It can be used the following ways:

Check you’re within the healthy range – keep track of your blood sugar levels over time and identify quickly if they creep up beyond the healthy range.

Check if you have pre-diabetes – having pre-diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Often with simple lifestyle changes, your blood sugar levels can return to the normal range.

Identify if you have type 2 diabetes – type 2 diabetes develops over a long period of time (years). Catching it early will help you and your doctor manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of long-term damage to your blood vessels.

Manage your existing diabetes – if you have diabetes, your doctor will have recommended a target HbA1c range that is right for you. By checking your HbA1c levels as regularly as every 3 or 6 months helps your doctor know if changes in your diet, physical activity or medication are helping.

The MyHealthTest HbA1c test report contains:

  • Your test result for HbA1c
  • An indication if you fall within the normal, pre-diabetes or diabetes range
  • Links to key information to help you understand your result

The closer your average blood sugar levels are to normal the lower your risk of damaging blood vessels in your body and developing complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart disease or lower limb amputation.

If your result is above the level considered normal, it is recommended you take your results to your doctor and discuss the best way to manage your health.

An example of the report can be viewed here.

Note: There are various medical conditions and medications that can affect the HbA1c test results, a high result should be investigated further by your doctor.

Some of the sugar (glucose) in your blood attaches to your red blood cells (haemoglobin) and remains attached for the lifespan of each red blood cell (around 3 months). This is called glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c.

When your blood sugar is high, more glucose attaches to the red blood cells. And when blood sugar is low, less glucose attaches.

The HbA1c test measures your average blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months. The higher your average blood sugar level, the higher the HbA1c. Once the level goes higher than the healthy range, you may have pre-diabetes or diabetes. For more information about diabetes click here

If you are already living with diabetes and your average blood sugar level goes outside the range your doctor has recommended, you may need advice from your healthcare team to get your level back into your target range.

Some factors can affect HbA1c levels. These include:

Medical considerations: conditions that affect the kidneys, liver or pancreas as well as conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. See our Clinical Information tab for more information.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and your doctor will take this into consideration when interpreting the results. More information on this is in the Clinical Information section.

Incorrect sample collection: taking an at-home dried blood spot test is different to taking a fingerprick test with your doctor or taking a daily blood glucose measurement. It’s important to follow the instructions provided inside the blood collection kit and follow them step-by-step. Your test results can be affected by incorrectly collecting your sample. And, if the spots are not large enough, you may be asked to repeat the test. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the instructions on returning your sample to us.

FRONT OF CARD

BACK OF CARD

Different laboratories: blood test results from different laboratories can and do vary. This is because different laboratories may use different methods of testing. This should be considered if you’re comparing results to those from other labs. For more information please read our frequently asked questions.

This HbA1c test is suitable to see if you may be developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes; or if you’re living with diabetes you can use this test to check your average blood sugar levels on an ongoing basis. There are some instances when this HbA1c test shouldn’t be used to diagnose diabetes or to monitor existing diabetes. You should not use this test in the following situations:

To diagnose suspected type 1 diabetes: type 1 diabetes occurs more commonly in children and young adults. Symptoms usually appear suddenly and you may become very ill very quickly. If you suspect that you may have type 1 diabetes you should seek immediate medical attention. People already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can use this test to monitor their condition regularly.

Pregnant women or for 2 months post pregnancy: diabetes during pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk. The HbA1c test is not a good measure of diabetes for the first 2 months after giving birth. If you’re concerned about diabetes during these times please speak with your doctor.

Medical considerations: conditions that affect the kidneys, liver or pancreas as well as conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. If you’ve had surgery, a blood transfusion or donated blood in the last 3 months this may also affect your HbA1c levels.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. You should not use this test if you’ve been taking antipsychotic drugs for less than 2 months or are taking corticosteroids.

More detailed information can be found in the Clinical Information section.

HbA1c measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months.

Keeping track of your levels over time lets you know if your diet and lifestyle changes and/or medication changes are keeping your blood sugar levels stable.

Our subscription service makes it easy

  1. 1. Simply tell us how often you want to take your test
  2. 2. We’ll send you a test kit each time you’re due
  3. 3. Track the changes in your HbA1c levels over time
  4. 4. Choose who to share your results with e.g., your doctor

Subscribe to regular tests, you’ll save more than 15% OFF the single test service price and only pay when it’s time to receive your new kit. Minimum purchase of two test services is required to take advantage of the subscription savings. Conditions apply, please read our frequently asked questions and Terms and Conditions.

Australian Facts:
  • 1 in 6 people has pre‑diabetes
  • 58% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed
  • 3 in 10 adults with diabetes don't know it yet
  • 1 person every 5 min develops diabetes
  • Approx. 1.7 million Australians have diabetes
1 in 6 people has pre‑diabetes
58% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed
3 in 10 adults with diabetes don't know it yet
1 person every 5 min develops diabetes
Approx. 1.7 million Australians have diabetes


Diabetes is a condition where your body is unable to process blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) effectively, causing your blood sugar levels to be too high. High blood sugar levels left untreated can cause damage to your blood vessels, causing serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, hearing loss and lower limb amputations.

There are four main types of diabetes:

Pre-diabetes: where blood sugar levels are higher than the healthy range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes affects nearly 1 in 6 adults (more than 2 million individuals) over the age of 25 years. People with pre-diabetes have no symptoms, but are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart attack. For more info

Type 1 diabetes: this is usually an autoimmune condition. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. Onset of type 1 diabetes occurs abruptly with obvious symptoms. If you suspect you may have type 1 diabetes seek urgent medical attention. For more info

Type 2 diabetes: this condition gradually develops, usually over a period of years. Some risks of developing type 2 diabetes are unavoidable such as family history and ethnic background, but lifestyle choices play a big part. For more info

Gestational diabetes: a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy that puts the mother and unborn child at risk of serious health problems. Also, women diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and their baby are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. If you suspect you may have gestational diabetes seek urgent medical attention. For more info

Often there are no symptoms if you’re in the early stages of developing diabetes and many people dismiss the signs as simply part of getting older.

Symptoms include:

excessive thirst
passing more urine
tired or lethargic
always hungry
cuts that heal slowly
itching, skin infections
blurred vision
mood swings, headaches, dizziness or leg cramps
gradually gaining weight (type 2)

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your doctor about your individual medical needs.


Diabetes Australia has developed a Risk Calculator based on the Australian type 2 diabetes risk test (AUSDRISK). It's a simple way to check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Answer these 11 short questions to assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Or take 1 minute now to watch this video to check your risk of pre-diabetes

For more information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Australia or Health Direct.


HbA1c or glycated haemoglobin is an indication of your average blood sugar over the previous 8-12 weeks. It’s used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and those people that have what’s called pre-diabetes (a raised blood sugar level, that is not raised enough to be called type 2 diabetes. Often this develops into type 2 diabetes). HbA1c is also used to monitor blood glucose levels regularly in people with diagnosed diabetes. For more information see About Diabetes.

The HbA1c test is used to diagnose and manage diabetes. It's not suitable for everyone. Generally, it's recommended for people over the age of 40 years to have an HbA1c test every year.

It is recommended you read the section You should not use this test if where we have detailed situations when this test is not suitable for use.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about a test service.

The HbA1c test is a different test from the blood glucose test that people with diabetes do frequently. Both measurements are important when managing diabetes.

The daily check - blood sugar test is done usually with a fingerprick and small device called a glucose meter. Your blood sugar level goes up and down all the time, when you eat, when you exercise or when you’re stressed or unwell.

It gives a snapshot of your blood sugar level at that point in time. Some people with diabetes check their blood sugar now and again, others need to check it every day or many times a day.

Because blood sugar levels change constantly you may miss the highest and lowest points each day.

The quarterly check - HbA1c test measures your average blood sugar over the previous 2-3 months.

Some of the sugar (glucose) in your blood attaches to your red blood cells (haemoglobin) and remains attached for the lifespan of each red blood cell (around 3 months). This is called glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c.

When your blood sugar is high, more glucose attaches to the red blood cells. And when blood sugar is low, less glucose attaches.

For people with diabetes they may take this test every 3 or 6 months to check their lifestyle changes and or medication treatment is working properly.

MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood test was developed by researchers from the Australian National University.

HbA1c can be reliably measured from dried blood spots and is comparable to testing with traditional whole blood samples (e.g., having blood taken at a local pathology centre). This study was published in BMC Clinical Pathology in 2015.

Find out more about dried blood spot testing and our state-of-the-art Australian pathology lab here.

Don’t have diabetes: it’s recommended you first assess your risk of type 2 diabetes using the Diabetes Australia Risk Calculator. If you’re over 40 years of age Diabetes Australia generally recommend you should check your HbA1c every year.

Living with diabetes: your doctor will likely recommend you check your HbA1c levels up to four times per year to check you're staying within the levels that are right for you, particularly if you're making diet and lifestyle changes and/or medication changes. However, if your blood sugar levels are stable, your doctor may recommend you only need to do a check once or twice per year.

It’s not helpful to test more often than every 3 months as this takes into account the lifespan of red blood cells. For a more detailed explanation see How is HbA1c different from a blood glucose test?

Our subscription service allows you to choose the intervals at which you would like to check your HbA1c and we’ll send you a test kit each time you’re due. Find out more here.

Your results will be reported using two measurements % and mmol/mol. A new way of reporting HbA1c levels is being introduced around the world. This will help avoid confusion with the daily blood glucose levels frequently measured by people with diabetes.

Your result will be referenced to one of three categories indicating that:

  • You may have diabetes
  • You may be at high risk of developing diabetes
  • Diabetes is not currently likely

We recommend you read the Diabetes Testing section where this is answered in more detail.

Some of the sugar in your blood attaches to the haemoglobin inside your red blood cells. Therefore, conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin can affect your HbA1c results. Such conditions include for example anaemia, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies or kidney disease amongst others. Your doctor will take into account your medical history and address any concerns at the time of assessing your HbA1c result.

Dried blood spot results for HbA1c are comparable to results from traditional blood testing methods, however your result may vary due to affects related to:

  • Improper collection of your sample, contamination or transportation.
  • Medications or a medical condition that has an effect on the Dried Blood Spot test.

If your result is within the normal range or different to what you expect your usual HbA1c levels are but you’re experiencing symptoms, please take your result to your doctor to discuss.

We recommend you read the HbA1c Testing section and more technical details are outlined in the Clinical Information section.

It has been shown that holding dried blood spot samples at 46°C for 2 days will result in a slight increase in the HbA1c test result for people with an HbA1c of 7.5% and higher. Therefore, there may be a small variation in your test result if your sample has been subjected to extreme temperature during transport.

The HbA1c test service MyHealthTest offer has been accredited and shown to be comparable to other Australian Pathology Laboratories. That said, there are many different methods used to test HbA1c and each method can give a slightly different result. This short video offers a good explanation: https://www.patientpower.info.

Your results are reported using two measurements: as a percentage (%) and millimoles per mole (mmol/mol). This is because there is a new way of reporting HbA1c levels being introduced around the world (mmol/mol) and for a transition period results will be reported using both the new and old method. This will help avoid confusion with the daily blood glucose levels frequently measured by people with diabetes.

A subscription makes keeping your HbA1c level within the healthy range easy to track. If you’re living with diabetes, you’ll know that keeping your HbA1c level at the level recommended by your doctor makes it less likely you’ll develop diabetes associated problems such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, loss of sight and lower limb amputations.

A subscription to check your average blood sugar levels regularly not only saves money but helps you stay on top of your health.

To learn more about subscriptions see our general subscriptions FAQ

The MyHealthTest Diabetes (HbA1c) Test Service is available via our webstore.

If you’re living with diabetes, Diabetes Australia have online shops servicing each state and territory - you can purchase our HbA1c test kit online via Diabetes Shop.

Diabetesshop.com has Australia's widest range of affordable and high-quality diabetes essentials, including publications and accessories to help people living with diabetes better manage their condition. The shop is open to the general public and members of participating diabetes state and territory organisations receive a 10% discount on their purchases. All profits made are invested in programs and research to improve the lives of the diabetes community.

For more FAQs on the overall service click here

The following information is intended for clinicians, and consumers who want more details about this test.

MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood test for HbA1c was developed by researchers from the Australian National University and aims to improve the access and convenience of blood testing for chronic conditions. Their study published in BMC Clinical Pathology in 2015 found comparable results between the MyHealthTest Diabetes HbA1c dried blood spot test and traditional whole blood testing.

This work was also accepted at the 2015 ADS/ADEA Annual Scientific Meeting where the following poster was presented: Time-dependent effects of HbA1c levels measured through dried blood sampling.

Improvements to the published HbA1c fingerprick method were implemented and demonstrated stability of results up to 11 days post sample collection, eliminating the need for application of correction formulae. This HbA1c test has been offered as a service to customers since 2015.

Glycated haemoglobin, or HbA1c, is commonly measured in the management of diabetes. HbA1c is approved for the diagnosis of diabetes in Australia.

The test is endorsed as a diagnostic test for type 2 diabetes by the World Health Organisation, the International Diabetes Federation and by an Australian Diabetes Society expert committee. These recommendations have been outlined and published here in the Medical Journal of Australia.


More information:

This HbA1c test should not be used to diagnose or monitor diabetes in the following instances:

People with suspected (undiagnosed) type 1 diabetes: If type 1 diabetes is suspected this test should not be used, seek immediate medical attention. This test is suitable for use in the management of people living with confirmed type 1 diabetes.

Pregnant women or for 2 months post pregnancy: Diabetes during pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk. If there is a suspicion of diabetes in this time medical advice should be sought immediately. The HbA1c test is not a suitable indicator of diabetes for the first 2 months after giving birth.

Medical considerations: some kidney, liver or pancreatic conditions, and conditions that affect the red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. Such conditions include, but are not limited to anaemia, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies or kidney disease as well as acute pancreatic damage or surgery on the pancreas. If these conditions apply, they will influence the results, these are outlined below under what can affect the results.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose such as antipsychotic drugs (for less than 2 months) or corticosteroids. We recommend you read the section below what can affect the results.

Dried blood spot (DBS) results obtained for HbA1c are comparable to whole blood samples collected by venepuncture and analysed by the same method (Indiko Immunoturbidimetric), and demonstrate clinically acceptable precision to be used as a tool for both diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.


Figure 1 – HbA1c Bland Altman and Linear Regression of DBS compared to whole blood


Assay Type:
Immunoturbidimetric (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Instrument:
Indiko (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Sample:
Fingerprick dried blood spot (DBS)
Measurand:
HbA1c concentration in whole blood
Measurement Range:
4-15% NGSP**
20-140 mmol/mol IFCC#
(at a normal haemoglobin (Hb) concentration of 150 g/L)
Reference Interval:
≥6.5% (48 mmol/mol) May have diabetes
6.0 – 6.4% (42-47 mmol/mol)    At risk of developing diabetes
<6.0% (42 mmol/mol) Diabetes not currently likely
Repeatability*:3.7% CV at 6.1% HbA1c (NGSP), 2.2% CV at 10.7% HbA1c (NGSP)
Stability:11 days
Interferences:

Samples containing high amounts of glycated fetal haemoglobin (HbF) >10% may result in lower HbA1c values than expected.

Thermal stability:

Testing has shown that after holding dried blood spot samples at 46°C for 2 days there is a slight increase in the HbA1c level from people with an HbA1c of 7.5% and higher. Therefore, there may be a small variation in results if samples are subjected to extreme temperature conditions.

**National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program

#International Federation of Clinical Chemistry

*Further information on measurement uncertainty is available upon request.


Samples are stable for up to 11 days after collection, however some results may be slightly higher if samples are subjected to extreme temperature conditions during transportation. For more information see table above.

When evaluating HbA1c results there are several factors that need to be considered by health professionals.

Some medications may affect the results because they are predisposed to higher blood glucose concentrations. Other medications can change your red blood cell count such as Dapsone and Aspirin

Medications: the following medications may affect results:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Dapsone
  • Aspirin
  • High dose Vitamin C or E

This list is not exhaustive.

Medical influences: certain factors should be considered as they are known to affect HbA1c levels. These include conditions affecting red blood cell survival or destruction, glycosylation rate and altered haemoglobin such as:

  • Deficiency in iron or vitamin B12
  • Kidney failure
  • Anaemia
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Conditions affecting the spleen or pancreas
  • Genetic haemoglobin defects
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alcoholism

Other factors that do not physically change HbA1c levels but may interfere with the test results are included in the table above.

An example test report can be viewed here

How It Works

Follow these simple steps to get your blood test results without having to go to a pathology centre

Your result will indicate if you may be developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, or, if you're living with diabetes, if you're in the recommended range. It can be used the following ways:

Check you’re within the healthy range – keep track of your blood sugar levels over time and identify quickly if they creep up beyond the healthy range.

Check if you have pre-diabetes – having pre-diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Often with simple lifestyle changes, your blood sugar levels can return to the normal range.

Identify if you have type 2 diabetes – type 2 diabetes develops over a long period of time (years). Catching it early will help you and your doctor manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of long-term damage to your blood vessels.

Manage your existing diabetes – if you have diabetes, your doctor will have recommended a target HbA1c range that is right for you. By checking your HbA1c levels as regularly as every 3 or 6 months helps your doctor know if changes in your diet, physical activity or medication are helping.

The MyHealthTest HbA1c test report contains:

  • Your test result for HbA1c
  • An indication if you fall within the normal, pre-diabetes or diabetes range
  • Links to key information to help you understand your result

The closer your average blood sugar levels are to normal the lower your risk of damaging blood vessels in your body and developing complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart disease or lower limb amputation.

If your result is above the level considered normal, it is recommended you take your results to your doctor and discuss the best way to manage your health.

An example of the report can be viewed here.

Note: There are various medical conditions and medications that can affect the HbA1c test results, a high result should be investigated further by your doctor.

Some of the sugar (glucose) in your blood attaches to your red blood cells (haemoglobin) and remains attached for the lifespan of each red blood cell (around 3 months). This is called glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c.

When your blood sugar is high, more glucose attaches to the red blood cells. And when blood sugar is low, less glucose attaches.

The HbA1c test measures your average blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months. The higher your average blood sugar level, the higher the HbA1c. Once the level goes higher than the healthy range, you may have pre-diabetes or diabetes. For more information about diabetes click here

If you are already living with diabetes and your average blood sugar level goes outside the range your doctor has recommended, you may need advice from your healthcare team to get your level back into your target range.

Some factors can affect HbA1c levels. These include:

Medical considerations: conditions that affect the kidneys, liver or pancreas as well as conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. See our Clinical Information tab for more information.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and your doctor will take this into consideration when interpreting the results. More information on this is in the Clinical Information section.

Incorrect sample collection: taking an at-home dried blood spot test is different to taking a fingerprick test with your doctor or taking a daily blood glucose measurement. It’s important to follow the instructions provided inside the blood collection kit and follow them step-by-step. Your test results can be affected by incorrectly collecting your sample. And, if the spots are not large enough, you may be asked to repeat the test. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the instructions on returning your sample to us.

FRONT OF CARD

BACK OF CARD

Different laboratories: blood test results from different laboratories can and do vary. This is because different laboratories may use different methods of testing. This should be considered if you’re comparing results to those from other labs. For more information please read our frequently asked questions.

This HbA1c test is suitable to see if you may be developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes; or if you’re living with diabetes you can use this test to check your average blood sugar levels on an ongoing basis. There are some instances when this HbA1c test shouldn’t be used to diagnose diabetes or to monitor existing diabetes. You should not use this test in the following situations:

To diagnose suspected type 1 diabetes: type 1 diabetes occurs more commonly in children and young adults. Symptoms usually appear suddenly and you may become very ill very quickly. If you suspect that you may have type 1 diabetes you should seek immediate medical attention. People already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can use this test to monitor their condition regularly.

Pregnant women or for 2 months post pregnancy: diabetes during pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk. The HbA1c test is not a good measure of diabetes for the first 2 months after giving birth. If you’re concerned about diabetes during these times please speak with your doctor.

Medical considerations: conditions that affect the kidneys, liver or pancreas as well as conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. If you’ve had surgery, a blood transfusion or donated blood in the last 3 months this may also affect your HbA1c levels.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. You should not use this test if you’ve been taking antipsychotic drugs for less than 2 months or are taking corticosteroids.

More detailed information can be found in the Clinical Information section.

HbA1c measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months.

Keeping track of your levels over time lets you know if your diet and lifestyle changes and/or medication changes are keeping your blood sugar levels stable.

Our subscription service makes it easy

  1. 1. Simply tell us how often you want to take your test
  2. 2. We’ll send you a test kit each time you’re due
  3. 3. Track the changes in your HbA1c levels over time
  4. 4. Choose who to share your results with e.g., your doctor

Subscribe to regular tests, you’ll save more than 15% OFF the single test service price and only pay when it’s time to receive your new kit. Minimum purchase of two test services is required to take advantage of the subscription savings. Conditions apply, please read our frequently asked questions and Terms and Conditions.

Australian Facts:
  • 1 in 6 people has pre‑diabetes
  • 58% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed
  • 3 in 10 adults with diabetes don't know it yet
  • 1 person every 5 min develops diabetes
  • Approx. 1.7 million Australians have diabetes
1 in 6 people has pre‑diabetes
58% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed
3 in 10 adults with diabetes don't know it yet
1 person every 5 min develops diabetes
Approx. 1.7 million Australians have diabetes


Diabetes is a condition where your body is unable to process blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) effectively, causing your blood sugar levels to be too high. High blood sugar levels left untreated can cause damage to your blood vessels, causing serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, hearing loss and lower limb amputations.

There are four main types of diabetes:

Pre-diabetes: where blood sugar levels are higher than the healthy range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes affects nearly 1 in 6 adults (more than 2 million individuals) over the age of 25 years. People with pre-diabetes have no symptoms, but are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart attack. For more info

Type 1 diabetes: this is usually an autoimmune condition. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. Onset of type 1 diabetes occurs abruptly with obvious symptoms. If you suspect you may have type 1 diabetes seek urgent medical attention. For more info

Type 2 diabetes: this condition gradually develops, usually over a period of years. Some risks of developing type 2 diabetes are unavoidable such as family history and ethnic background, but lifestyle choices play a big part. For more info

Gestational diabetes: a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy that puts the mother and unborn child at risk of serious health problems. Also, women diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and their baby are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. If you suspect you may have gestational diabetes seek urgent medical attention. For more info

Often there are no symptoms if you’re in the early stages of developing diabetes and many people dismiss the signs as simply part of getting older.

Symptoms include:

excessive thirst
passing more urine
tired or lethargic
always hungry
cuts that heal slowly
itching, skin infections
blurred vision
mood swings, headaches, dizziness or leg cramps
gradually gaining weight (type 2)

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your doctor about your individual medical needs.


Diabetes Australia has developed a Risk Calculator based on the Australian type 2 diabetes risk test (AUSDRISK). It's a simple way to check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Answer these 11 short questions to assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Or take 1 minute now to watch this video to check your risk of pre-diabetes

For more information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Australia or Health Direct.


HbA1c or glycated haemoglobin is an indication of your average blood sugar over the previous 8-12 weeks. It’s used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and those people that have what’s called pre-diabetes (a raised blood sugar level, that is not raised enough to be called type 2 diabetes. Often this develops into type 2 diabetes). HbA1c is also used to monitor blood glucose levels regularly in people with diagnosed diabetes. For more information see About Diabetes.

The HbA1c test is used to diagnose and manage diabetes. It's not suitable for everyone. Generally, it's recommended for people over the age of 40 years to have an HbA1c test every year.

It is recommended you read the section You should not use this test if where we have detailed situations when this test is not suitable for use.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about a test service.

The HbA1c test is a different test from the blood glucose test that people with diabetes do frequently. Both measurements are important when managing diabetes.

The daily check - blood sugar test is done usually with a fingerprick and small device called a glucose meter. Your blood sugar level goes up and down all the time, when you eat, when you exercise or when you’re stressed or unwell.

It gives a snapshot of your blood sugar level at that point in time. Some people with diabetes check their blood sugar now and again, others need to check it every day or many times a day.

Because blood sugar levels change constantly you may miss the highest and lowest points each day.

The quarterly check - HbA1c test measures your average blood sugar over the previous 2-3 months.

Some of the sugar (glucose) in your blood attaches to your red blood cells (haemoglobin) and remains attached for the lifespan of each red blood cell (around 3 months). This is called glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c.

When your blood sugar is high, more glucose attaches to the red blood cells. And when blood sugar is low, less glucose attaches.

For people with diabetes they may take this test every 3 or 6 months to check their lifestyle changes and or medication treatment is working properly.

MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood test was developed by researchers from the Australian National University.

HbA1c can be reliably measured from dried blood spots and is comparable to testing with traditional whole blood samples (e.g., having blood taken at a local pathology centre). This study was published in BMC Clinical Pathology in 2015.

Find out more about dried blood spot testing and our state-of-the-art Australian pathology lab here.

Don’t have diabetes: it’s recommended you first assess your risk of type 2 diabetes using the Diabetes Australia Risk Calculator. If you’re over 40 years of age Diabetes Australia generally recommend you should check your HbA1c every year.

Living with diabetes: your doctor will likely recommend you check your HbA1c levels up to four times per year to check you're staying within the levels that are right for you, particularly if you're making diet and lifestyle changes and/or medication changes. However, if your blood sugar levels are stable, your doctor may recommend you only need to do a check once or twice per year.

It’s not helpful to test more often than every 3 months as this takes into account the lifespan of red blood cells. For a more detailed explanation see How is HbA1c different from a blood glucose test?

Our subscription service allows you to choose the intervals at which you would like to check your HbA1c and we’ll send you a test kit each time you’re due. Find out more here.

Your results will be reported using two measurements % and mmol/mol. A new way of reporting HbA1c levels is being introduced around the world. This will help avoid confusion with the daily blood glucose levels frequently measured by people with diabetes.

Your result will be referenced to one of three categories indicating that:

  • You may have diabetes
  • You may be at high risk of developing diabetes
  • Diabetes is not currently likely

We recommend you read the Diabetes Testing section where this is answered in more detail.

Some of the sugar in your blood attaches to the haemoglobin inside your red blood cells. Therefore, conditions that affect your red blood cells or haemoglobin can affect your HbA1c results. Such conditions include for example anaemia, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies or kidney disease amongst others. Your doctor will take into account your medical history and address any concerns at the time of assessing your HbA1c result.

Dried blood spot results for HbA1c are comparable to results from traditional blood testing methods, however your result may vary due to affects related to:

  • Improper collection of your sample, contamination or transportation.
  • Medications or a medical condition that has an effect on the Dried Blood Spot test.

If your result is within the normal range or different to what you expect your usual HbA1c levels are but you’re experiencing symptoms, please take your result to your doctor to discuss.

We recommend you read the HbA1c Testing section and more technical details are outlined in the Clinical Information section.

It has been shown that holding dried blood spot samples at 46°C for 2 days will result in a slight increase in the HbA1c test result for people with an HbA1c of 7.5% and higher. Therefore, there may be a small variation in your test result if your sample has been subjected to extreme temperature during transport.

The HbA1c test service MyHealthTest offer has been accredited and shown to be comparable to other Australian Pathology Laboratories. That said, there are many different methods used to test HbA1c and each method can give a slightly different result. This short video offers a good explanation: https://www.patientpower.info.

Your results are reported using two measurements: as a percentage (%) and millimoles per mole (mmol/mol). This is because there is a new way of reporting HbA1c levels being introduced around the world (mmol/mol) and for a transition period results will be reported using both the new and old method. This will help avoid confusion with the daily blood glucose levels frequently measured by people with diabetes.

A subscription makes keeping your HbA1c level within the healthy range easy to track. If you’re living with diabetes, you’ll know that keeping your HbA1c level at the level recommended by your doctor makes it less likely you’ll develop diabetes associated problems such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, loss of sight and lower limb amputations.

A subscription to check your average blood sugar levels regularly not only saves money but helps you stay on top of your health.

To learn more about subscriptions see our general subscriptions FAQ

The MyHealthTest Diabetes (HbA1c) Test Service is available via our webstore.

If you’re living with diabetes, Diabetes Australia have online shops servicing each state and territory - you can purchase our HbA1c test kit online via Diabetes Shop.

Diabetesshop.com has Australia's widest range of affordable and high-quality diabetes essentials, including publications and accessories to help people living with diabetes better manage their condition. The shop is open to the general public and members of participating diabetes state and territory organisations receive a 10% discount on their purchases. All profits made are invested in programs and research to improve the lives of the diabetes community.

For more FAQs on the overall service click here

The following information is intended for clinicians, and consumers who want more details about this test.

MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood test for HbA1c was developed by researchers from the Australian National University and aims to improve the access and convenience of blood testing for chronic conditions. Their study published in BMC Clinical Pathology in 2015 found comparable results between the MyHealthTest Diabetes HbA1c dried blood spot test and traditional whole blood testing.

This work was also accepted at the 2015 ADS/ADEA Annual Scientific Meeting where the following poster was presented: Time-dependent effects of HbA1c levels measured through dried blood sampling.

Improvements to the published HbA1c fingerprick method were implemented and demonstrated stability of results up to 11 days post sample collection, eliminating the need for application of correction formulae. This HbA1c test has been offered as a service to customers since 2015.

Glycated haemoglobin, or HbA1c, is commonly measured in the management of diabetes. HbA1c is approved for the diagnosis of diabetes in Australia.

The test is endorsed as a diagnostic test for type 2 diabetes by the World Health Organisation, the International Diabetes Federation and by an Australian Diabetes Society expert committee. These recommendations have been outlined and published here in the Medical Journal of Australia.


More information:

This HbA1c test should not be used to diagnose or monitor diabetes in the following instances:

People with suspected (undiagnosed) type 1 diabetes: If type 1 diabetes is suspected this test should not be used, seek immediate medical attention. This test is suitable for use in the management of people living with confirmed type 1 diabetes.

Pregnant women or for 2 months post pregnancy: Diabetes during pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk. If there is a suspicion of diabetes in this time medical advice should be sought immediately. The HbA1c test is not a suitable indicator of diabetes for the first 2 months after giving birth.

Medical considerations: some kidney, liver or pancreatic conditions, and conditions that affect the red blood cells or haemoglobin are known to affect HbA1c levels. Such conditions include, but are not limited to anaemia, iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies or kidney disease as well as acute pancreatic damage or surgery on the pancreas. If these conditions apply, they will influence the results, these are outlined below under what can affect the results.

Medications: some medications may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose such as antipsychotic drugs (for less than 2 months) or corticosteroids. We recommend you read the section below what can affect the results.

Dried blood spot (DBS) results obtained for HbA1c are comparable to whole blood samples collected by venepuncture and analysed by the same method (Indiko Immunoturbidimetric), and demonstrate clinically acceptable precision to be used as a tool for both diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.


Figure 1 – HbA1c Bland Altman and Linear Regression of DBS compared to whole blood


Assay Type:
Immunoturbidimetric (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Instrument:
Indiko (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
Sample:
Fingerprick dried blood spot (DBS)
Measurand:
HbA1c concentration in whole blood
Measurement Range:
4-15% NGSP**
20-140 mmol/mol IFCC#
(at a normal haemoglobin (Hb) concentration of 150 g/L)
Reference Interval:
≥6.5% (48 mmol/mol) May have diabetes
6.0 – 6.4% (42-47 mmol/mol)    At risk of developing diabetes
<6.0% (42 mmol/mol) Diabetes not currently likely
Repeatability*:3.7% CV at 6.1% HbA1c (NGSP), 2.2% CV at 10.7% HbA1c (NGSP)
Stability:11 days
Interferences:

Samples containing high amounts of glycated fetal haemoglobin (HbF) >10% may result in lower HbA1c values than expected.

Thermal stability:

Testing has shown that after holding dried blood spot samples at 46°C for 2 days there is a slight increase in the HbA1c level from people with an HbA1c of 7.5% and higher. Therefore, there may be a small variation in results if samples are subjected to extreme temperature conditions.

**National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program

#International Federation of Clinical Chemistry

*Further information on measurement uncertainty is available upon request.


Samples are stable for up to 11 days after collection, however some results may be slightly higher if samples are subjected to extreme temperature conditions during transportation. For more information see table above.

When evaluating HbA1c results there are several factors that need to be considered by health professionals.

Some medications may affect the results because they are predisposed to higher blood glucose concentrations. Other medications can change your red blood cell count such as Dapsone and Aspirin

Medications: the following medications may affect results:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Dapsone
  • Aspirin
  • High dose Vitamin C or E

This list is not exhaustive.

Medical influences: certain factors should be considered as they are known to affect HbA1c levels. These include conditions affecting red blood cell survival or destruction, glycosylation rate and altered haemoglobin such as:

  • Deficiency in iron or vitamin B12
  • Kidney failure
  • Anaemia
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Conditions affecting the spleen or pancreas
  • Genetic haemoglobin defects
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alcoholism

Other factors that do not physically change HbA1c levels but may interfere with the test results are included in the table above.

An example test report can be viewed here