Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) vs blood glucose testing: what does it all mean?

Your doctor often advises you to have an HbA1c test in addition to conventional blood glucose testing, you must wonder what it means and does, right? HbA1c is the acronym for ‘Glycosylated Hemoglobin, blood is taken from your veins in order to perform this test. Glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) is used for measuring the levels of hemoglobin A1c in the patient’s blood.

Used as a progress checker for many diseases such as diabetes the HbA1c test is extremely useful. The test reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 70-80 days. Usually recommended by doctors once every year, in some cases it might be advised for the test to happen every 3-6 months.

What is hemoglobin A1c?

Hemoglobin A1c is a type of hemoglobin in your body that can be found in red blood cells. The structure of such cells is disfigured and altered due to exposure to high amounts of sugar. Such cases happen when your body cannot produce enough amounts of insulin to sustain the minimum energy levels that your body needs for functioning. Damage to the cells through genetic reasons is one of the primary reasons for such a condition existing. Other reasons include exposure to high sugar concentration levels in the past and other hormonal disbalances and neuron damages.

What is the glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test)?

When there is no glucose present in the body, our cells are forced to extract energy from other sources such as fatty acids, they use secondary mediums as the primary energy source. When fasting, diabetic patients can tell that their blood sugar levels have dropped by feeling the loss in fibers. Moreover, it can be measured through ketones which are present in the urine samples of patients.

Through the glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) an estimation of your blood sugar levels can be done which can tell if you are suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes. Generally, levels above the 5.7 mark mean you are at high risk of having the disease but only a medically trained professional can explain the condition to a patient properly.

The tests are done at a minimum gap of 3 months as the red blood cells in our body only survive in our body for around 8-12 weeks. The results of a glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) could be shown in percentages in your pathology report. Patients with type 1 or type diabetes are often suggested to take this test at regular intervals to check up on their cardiovascular health.

What should be your goal for A1c levels?

People suffering from the disease of diabetes aim for levels that are under 7%. Basically, the higher your percentage is on the glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) the higher the risk of complications become. It’s necessary to work towards lowering the percentage. People who are untreated and suffering from diabetes are known to have levels higher than 8%, which are extremely severe and dangerous for your health.

Diet and exercise are the primary methods through which you can start your road to recovery. Health is a primary concern in each of our lives and we should take it seriously early on in our lives.

People who have diseases related to hemoglobin levels such as anemia often get inappropriate results on the test. Cholesterol levels and kidney diseases can also alter with the results of such tests.

Patients with pre-diabetes usually get tested only once a year but this doesn’t mean that they are healthy or immune. This means that such patients have a high risk of developing diabetes and getting sick. People with type-2 diabetes are usually tested twice a year. Such patients are not taking insulin and their blood levels are in their targeted range.

Blood glucose levels:

Blood glucose levels are the representation of glucose levels in a person’s blood at any given point in time. Having both high or low blood sugar levels could be a point towards an underlying disease or health condition. Daily decisions related to exercise and diet are going to be prescribed by your medical professional based on your blood glucose levels.

 Glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) is used globally to diagnose many patients with health conditions such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and pre-diabetes. Unlike conventional blood glucose testing a glycosylated hemoglobin test (HbA1c test) provides information about the levels of blood sugar for a period of 3 months.

Hemoglobin A1c is a type of hemoglobin in your body that can be found in the red blood cells which is the targeted receptor of the test. The test is not considered as a fasting test and patients can have the test at any time during the day. The test can be done after or before eating both.

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